With The Muppets now playing, all week I’ve been posting exclusive video interviews with the cast. The past few days I posted my conversations with Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, Jason Segel and Walter, director James Bobin, and today I’ve got co-screenwriter Nicholas Stoller (as well as director of Get Him to the Greek and Forgetting Sarah Marshall). But before getting to the interview, as I’ve said all week, I absolutely loved The Muppets. It’s one of my favorite films of the year and it not only made me laugh, it also made me cry. If you were nervous about the movie…don’t be. It’s a huge home run.
During my extended video interview with Stoller, we talked about the status of how the script changed along the way, ’80s Robot, Infant Sorrow, the notes they got from Disney, his favorite jokes, and a lot more. In addition, with Stoller currently in post production on his next film, The Five-Year Engagement (which also stars Jason Segel), we talked about his first test screening, the music (it’ll be a lot of Van Morrison), editing a movie with so much improv, and how the movie might be longer than people expect. Finally, with Stoller also attached to Sex Tape, I asked the status of that project. Hit the jump for more.
Nicholas Stoller Time Index
- :20 What’s the status of Infant Sorrow? Says they just broke up, but they have a reunion concert next weekend.
- 1:05 His reaction to the first cut of the movie. Says he knew as soon as James Bobin signed on the movie would be awesome.
- 1:52 What kind of adjustments were made from the first script to the current film. Says the big plot beats stayed the same, but a bunch of the smaller bits changed. In their original version, the villain turned out to be Kermit in a human suit that he created in order to get the Muppets back together. Another version had Kermit as really wealthy.
- 4:18 Talks about how one of the Muppets turned out to be really wealthy. Minor spoilers.
- 5:25 How 80’s Robot came about. Talks about one of his favorite jokes in the film that no one gets. Says at a table read for the Pixar guys, all the Pixar guys laughed at it.
- 6:43 Talks about the notes they got from Disney.
- 7:21 Did he take any props home from the film?
- 7:53 Talks about The Five-Year Engagement
“I’m really proud of the movie. We just had our first test screening and it went really well, which I’m really excited about. It’s Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Rhys Ifans, Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Mindy Kaling, Kevin Hart, there’s a lot of people in it. It’s really come together well, it tells a five-year relationship between these two people trying to get to the altar and various things get in their way. I was thrilled, we literally just tested it.
- 8:47 Talks about the music for Five-Year Engagement:
“Right now they have a song that’s their song, and their song is “Sweet Thing” by Van Morrison, which is like every other couple’s song. So right now we’re playing around with the Van Morrison trope throughout the movie. This is the first movie I’ve done that—neither of them are musicians, there aren’t rock videos, you know both Sarah Marshall and obviously Greek relied heavily on music being part of the voice of the movie, and this is not part of it as much.”
“It’s been challenging because the movie is quite long right now…especially with a five-year relationship, it’s hard to know—it’s interesting, on Get Him to the Greek we had whole plot points that had nothing to do with getting Aldous Snow to the Greek, I discovered in cutting it everything that didn’t have to do with that, we cut out of the movie, so that was interesting. With this movie, it’s about a long relationship, and it’s not quite as linear, it’s not quite as easy to tell what pieces are emotionally supporting other pieces of the movie. You can only tell that by cutting stuff out and seeing how it plays, but you can cut something out that may not be getting laughs but that is supporting Emily’s character, and some people don’t get where she’s coming from. It’s hard to tell exactly how those things work, but when we played the movie there were laughs from the beginning to the end. Usually you look at the movie and you watch the laugh track, you just cut out the parts that didn’t get laughs, there wasn’t—we’re very lucky that’s not our problem, but it’s gonna be hard to figure out where to cut.”
- 11:12 Is there the possibility of the studio giving him a longer running time since it’s testing so well? Says he’s proven himself with two successful films now, and Judd Apatow is producing, so they have leeway. Says the studio doesn’t love long movies, but Bridesmaids was a huge hit and it was over 2 hours long.
- 11:50 The status of Sex Tape. Says he’s trying to figure it out right now, he’s not sure but it’s something that he and Segel are interested in.