5. Making the Muppets Most Wanted work for both kids and adults.
There is an art to making a film like Muppets Most Wanted to work for both kids and adults. I remember watching the Muppet show in the 70’s and it was the thing I watched when I was, you know, six or seven and my dad watched it with me and my grandparents watched it with me,” said Bobin, “and we’re all laughing throughout but I think we’re probably laughing at different things.” I love making a movie you can watch again, again and again ‘cause kids watch things a lot. You know, my—my kids wear out movies they love. They watch them again and they’re no kinda limit to how many times they can watch it, and I love the idea that if you build something with enough depth and texture you can watch it again and again and see new things every time and that’s very important.
4. The Muppets place in history while they teach us film history.
The Muppet films are known to reference or parody great songs or moments in history. In Muppets Most Wanted, there are plenty of aspects of the film that are nods the the glory days of musical numbers like Kelly’s Heroes, the Pink Panther, the the MGM opening numbers,” Bobin said, “I love the idea of making a movie with huge number of references and, you know, just movie tropes of course, just things that you may remember from other movies. It fills, it plays so well for them that when we put this together, this lovely idea you—you have this leeway to do that and it’s very rare to have a chance to do that and make reference for the movies you love and—and that’s what I want to do with this film and throughout—throughout the whole thing.”
McKenzie added that those were the “golden age of musicals.” “Those years are so influential on us now because what they did with the videos and the films for the—for the musical numbers, you know, I’m jealous of those that time and it seemed like the actors spent most of their times doing dancing and singing lessons and then they come on set and know all their moves and they could do, they could all sing as well,” said McKenzie.
3. Finding The Test Audience.
Bobin and Lieberman’s kids were the test audience for Muppets Most Wanted. Bobin said:
I’d take home the dailies and show them what we’ve been filming that day. Hence, in the last movie there’s a lot of chickens. They love chickens. The chickens clearly, the theater was literally my daughter’s sort of thing and this time she loves the Henson Babies.
I knew we had something good too with the interrogation song that Bret wrote when I brought home the demo and both my kids had commandeered my computer. Figured out my password, got into it were listening to the songs and were jumping around and jumping on the couches and quoting that exact song and so, uh, yeah, I think the children of Hollywood are more influential than the—the parents.
2. Muppet Cameos.
Muppet fans may know that not every Muppet made it into the last film. In fact, Rizzo the Rat, who had a small role in the 2011 film, had to beg to be in Muppets Most Wanted. To keep this from being too spoilery, Rizzo does sing about a certain Muppet character that wasn’t seen in the 2011 film. But if these Muppets want to be in any of the future films, assuming Bobin returns to direct the next one, all they have to do is send him a video.
1. James Bobin and Bret McKenzie Working Together Again.
Bobin and McKenzie have worked together on various projects for almost ten years now, and for Muppets Most Wanted, they worked especially close. Bobin said:
It’s such a job working with Bret because I have an idea and he’s kinda ahead of me on it all the time and it’s pretty much a back and forth. Whereby, often it’ll start with a title or a funny idea we have for a song and it—and it plays out in the script and that’s all it is. It’s like a title and a kinda brief description and then from that paragraph we’ll give it to Bret and he will come back with an amazing song. We go, yeah that’s it. Perfect. Thank you very much, let’s do something else now, you know, it’s like that—it’s that good and it’s very rear that he delivers something I don’t like, you know it doesn’t happen that often.
“There’s a bit of back and forth so James and Nick (Stoller) would come up with the idea usually or the, you know, the moment in the film that needs a song and then, yeah they’d throw it to me like so the opening was we’re doing a sequel was the idea and they had some ideas of, had some good lines like they—they often suggests lines that don’t rhyme which they are no help”
3. Royal Baby Cameo?
Since the film takes place in London, there was an attempt to get the Royal Family involved, especially the Royal baby since the Babies are turning to the scene. “We tried to get the young prince to be one of the babies. But, they never responded,” said Bobin.
2. Intimidated By A Gold Statue Named Oscar
McKenzie is intimidated by the Oscar that sits on top of his piano back at home, and says that, “It sits on my piano and so occasionally I’ll be working around looking at, oh, that’s not good enough,” said McKenzie.
1. You Don’t Call Kermit. He Calls You.
Once you’ve worked on a Muppets film, you are given a special phone that is a direct line to Kermit himself, or at least that is what Bret McKenize says. “And, I had having worked on the first film, Kermit sent me a—a Kermit phone which is a direct line to him, said McKenzie, “it’s like the bat phone.” He added that he cannot call Kermit, Kermit calls him.
Muppets Most Wanted stars Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Gonzo the Great, Fozzy Bear, Scooter, Walter, and more. Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, and Ricky Gervais play as the principle human cast. The film opens in theaters this Friday, March 21.