Elmo is an international icon, but few people know the inspiring story of his creator, Kevin Clash. The documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, opening on October 21st in theaters and then premiering on PBS in Spring 2012, tells the story of someone who displayed his creativity and talent from a young age. Dreaming of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson, he ultimately found a home on Sesame Street, where he has been making children and their families happy, ever since. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the film includes rare archival footage, a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop, and a showcase of just how much those lovable characters mean to people of all ages, all over the world.
During this exclusive interview with Collider, puppeteer Kevin Clash talked about how the documentary came about, that the dream of being on Sesame Street started when he was nine years old, how honored he was to work alongside Jim Henson and continue his legacy, how quickly the personality and voice for Elmo came to him, the responsibility of fulfilling a last wish for a sick child, and how fun it was to be a part of the return of the Muppets, voicing a character for the new feature film. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
[This is a re-print of my review from the 2011 Sundance Film Festival]
After watching the first several minutes of Constance Marks’ documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, I realized I could watch an entire movie of just Elmo giving people hugs. But the heartwarming story of Elmo’s puppeteer Kevin Clash is also good. The movie doesn’t have much in the way of conflict, but it provides a great narrative of a man who pursued his life-long dream as well as a fascinating look inside the world of puppetry. While younger viewers may be a bit disappointed that Elmo isn’t the dominate figure in the movie, all audiences will be won over by Clash and how he made his dream come true.
It is impossible to hate Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey. I don’t care how black you think your heart is, this is a documentary everyone will love and not just because it has Elmo. You’ll love it because it you’ll see how Elmo’s puppeteer, Kevin Clash, not only followed his life-long dream of becoming a puppeteer, but how he created a character that has brought joy to the lives of millions of children. The film’s trailer has gone online and it does a good job of representing of showing why Clash is a worthy documentary subject and what makes this movie a celebration of a person, and not just his ridiculously popular and lovable puppet (although Elmo gets plenty of screen-time).
Hit the jump to check out the trailer, click here for my review of the film from Sundance, and click here to find out when Being Elmo is coming to your city.