Not only did I get to see The Muppets before it was released, I also had a chance to go to the Press Junket, where the filmmakers and some of the cast were interviewed. It was great seeing Miss Piggy, Kermit, and Walter in person. It was so cute how they walked out on stage with no puppeteer in site.
It was also fun to see that they are they same in person as they are on the screen. It was so fun listening to their comments to each other as well their responses to the interview questions.
Here are some of my favorite moments from the Press Conference:
Interview with the Filmmakers:
PRESS: With the possible exception of David, none of you have known the world without the Muppets. What do you think the world would have been like if they were not here?
DAVID HOBERMAN: Am I supposed to resent that? I don’t know.
JAMES BOBIN: He’s my son. That’s a great question. I don’t know. I think it would be a sadder place without the Muppets. You know what I mean? I really do feel that they have this great optimistic vibe about them, which is irreplaceable. And I kind of think of things that have a similar feeling. It’s like a world without Jimmy Stewart in A Wonderful Life. It’s that sort of thing and about the great optimism that they have about themselves. Well, standing from my life, my childhood would have been a far sadder place without them. So yeah.
NICK STOLLER: I would have had no friends as a child.
JAMES BOBIN: Yeah.
NICK STOLLER: So there’s that.
JAMES BOBIN: And nothing else on in the afternoons either.
NICK STOLLER: Yeah.
JAMES BOBIN: Yeah, I know. Yes, it’s a very sad thought.
TODD LIEBERMAN: Yeah, it’s a hard one to really conceptualize with a world without them. But I can look at again going to my own children because they weren’t as familiar or maybe actually weren’t familiar at all with Kermit, the Muppets. And my older son is 6-1/2. So I saw the world through his eyes of there are no Muppets and then introducing the Muppets to him. And as these guys are saying, yes, it becomes a much nicer place when the Muppets are there and the big smile comes on the face.
NICK STOLLER: I also think from a practical standpoint I think there probably wouldn’t be the Simpsons. I think there probably wouldn’t be Pixar like some of the Pixar movies. I think that they started a kind of comedy that breaks the fourth wall. But it also is really heart felt and is really
witty, but also has like big slapstick things. I think that they really laid the groundwork really for a lot of comedy that is so popular.
JAMES BOBIN: But also important I think for a comedy to work for all age ranges that’s the amazing thing about Muppets. I think they were way ahead of their time, and that sort of idea there is a show that could work for four-year-olds and the 60-year-olds and 30-year-olds. Because when you watch it, you take different things from it. And that’s what is so clever about it. And I think what a lot of people have learned from that, the big people at Pixar who make such amazing movies these days.
NICK STOLLER: Yeah, that’s a great one.
JAMES BOBIN: The Muppets feel like a very early version of those kinds of movies.
NICK STOLLER: Also, this Muppet Movie wouldn’t exist.
JAMES BOBIN: Yeah, we wouldn’t be here would we?
Interview with the Cast:
WALTER: Oh, yeah, the whistling thing.
WALTER: Yeah, no. In addition to the Muppets, I loved the old Andy Griffith Show, and it was always a childhood goal to try to whistle that catchy theme. And a lot of times I get mistaken for a tea kettle when I was first learning.
KERMIT: I think of you more as a muffin myself.
WALTER: Yeah, yeah. Actually, the worst thing that happened growing up someone mistook me for a piñata.
KERMIT: Oh, my goodness. Oh, my goodness.
WALTER: Now, I’m good.
MISS PIGGY: Did they get any candy out of you?
WALTER: Well, uh, actually it was just after Halloween and I had just had a bag full so yes.
KERMIT: Oh, TMI, my friend.
Interview with the cast:
PRESS: This is actually for Jason and Miss Piggy. As a writer, how did you conceptualize the story line or what was your inspiration? And when you got to Miss Piggy’s part how difficult was it to carry through or was she the editor of her part and how often did you have to send rewrites to her?
JASON SEGEL: Well, I’ll start at the first part of the question, because the second part is very delicate, frankly.
KERMIT: Yep, yep.
MISS PIGGY: Really?
JASON SEGEL: And we tend to get into trouble when I answer this question.
MISS PIGGY: Uh-huh.
JASON SEGEL: Well, coming up with the idea of the movie was actually fairly simple. What do the Muppets do best? They put on a show. So I knew ultimately the movie was going to be about putting on a show. That’s the real spirit of the Muppets. They always had a great villain. So we thought of Tex Richmond, the evil oil baron. Then once Chris Cooper came into our minds it was very simple. And then, what occurred to me was that it’s been 12 years since the Muppets were last on the big screen. And I wanted to acknowledge that this movie was bringing them back to the forefront of comedy where they belong. Because they should have been making movies this whole time, grand, big dance movies, song and dance numbers like the old MGM style of
musicals. So it was about getting the Muppets back together sort of as a metaphor of getting back onto the big screen where they belong. As for Piggy’s part, she wanted it bigger. I’m not going to lie to you. And she wanted a very strange credit sequence where we would all be introduced, and then it would say “And Miss Piggy” but then that would just say on throughout the entire movie.
MISS PIGGY: Huh, I see nothing wrong with that. But, yes. Well, you know what, I did not demand any rewrites. I want to go on the record for that, but that’s probably just because I didn’t really read the script.
JASON SEGEL: Yeah. You would just say what you wanted.
MISS PIGGY: I would just show up on the set and you know people say their lines, and then I say whatever comes into my head.
KERMIT: And I said the rewrites were basically around Piggy’s improvisations.
MISS PIGGY: I thought it turned out good, though. Yeah.
Interview with the cast:
PRESS: Hi, for Kermit and Miss Piggy I was wondering how was working on this film different than working in the past on television shows and other movies? And for Walter, Jason and Amy, what did you take away from this experience that was different from other movies that you’ve worked on?
KERMIT: How is different? Well, it’s a new year. There was new food. It was wonderful. You know, one of the great things about the work we’ve done over the years is that we get to work with wonderful celebrities and this time it was Jason and Amy and Chris and other stars. I always cherish those experiences. That’s what moves us forward. That’s the stuff we look back on as we move forward, and Walter is with us now. And I hope our fans like what we have out there.
WALTER: Yeah, for me it was actually my first experience. I’m hoping the first of many more, and I was just really amazed by the professionalism and just how incredibly crafted this whole … I mean, just speaking of the film as a piece of art, it’s just so deliberate and crafted and gone over with a fine tooth comb. And I think that speaks to the professionalism of everybody that worked on it and Jason and Amy.
KERMIT: Save it for the Academy.
WALTER: Did I just get played off?
MODERATOR: Thanks everybody and thank you cast.
PRESS: What about Amy and Jason and Miss Piggy?
AMY ADAMS: You want to go first?
MISS PIGGY: No, go on.
AMY ADAMS: Okay, thank you.
MISS PIGGY: What I was …
AMY ADAMS: You really can go first. That’s all right. For me, I think it was my first family film that I did after having a daughter, and it was really, really cool to work with the Muppets. They were a big part of my childhood. So everyday was sort of me reliving my childhood while I had a child, and that was really, really cool and really special. It’s just going to be fun to introduce her to these guys and to know that I have a relationship with them. And I’m just excited. I’m excited that she has a film that she can watch as well.
KERMIT: We were singing songs from Rocky Horror Picture Show between takes and it was wonderful.
AMY ADAMS: Yeah, I had a blast with these guys. They’re amazing.
MISS PIGGY: Oh, I can’t wait for the next movie to have the same experience as Amy. What do you think?
KERMIT: Hey, I think that’s just wonderful. Yeah. We’ll work on that.
JASON SEGEL: For me it was like, you know, there are a lot of reasons to choose what movie you’re going to do next, and nothing can ever beat doing something that you love. That was the lesson I took away from it. I was working with my childhood idols and with I think the best actress of our generation.
MISS PIGGY: Oh, thank you. (LAUGHS)
JASON SEGEL: And with Chris Cooper in these amazing cameos, and everyday was a joy. So that’s what I took away from it.
KERMIT: Yeah, we hope you guys like it. We really do. It means a lot to us.