Muppets Most Wanted takes the entire Muppets gang on a tour of Europe’s most exciting destinations, but once they’re overseas, they find themselves caught up in a crime caper at the hands of Kermit’s evil doppleganger Constantine. Featuring numerous Muppets, great musical numbers and surprising cameos, this action-comedy-musical will most certainly make you laugh, and might even bring a tear to your eye.
During a conference at the film’s press day, co-stars Tiny Fey, Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Constantine and Sam Eagle talked about how they felt about doing a musical, why Nadya (Tina Fey) is a better woman for Kermit than Miss Piggy, what kids will like most about the movie, how the actors’ kids feel about them working with Muppets, how The Muppets inspired the humans, and what Kermit is most proud of. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
KERMIT: Well, it didn’t make sense for me to play Constantine ‘cause we do have a few scenes together and I don’t really work on green screen. We couldn’t really make that work. Constantine is actually a distant cousin from Russia. Also with roots in the Colorado area, I understand.
CONSTANTINE: This is true.
KERMIT: So, it was better to get him to do it. He has the voice.
CONSTANTINE: But, the weird thing is that I cannot speak any Russian words.
RICKY GERVAIS: Just English with a Russian accent. It’s odd.
Were the humans nervous about being in a movie musical and singing with The Muppets?
GERVAIS: Well, I was okay with singing. I’m a failed pop star. I always sneak a song into everything I do. But, my dancing is a little awkward. I’m a little embarrassed about that. I don’t move well. But, I was with a frog, so it didn’t matter. I’ll do anything with a frog. That’s my motto. And he was great tap dancer. Well, more of a flap dancer. He was flap dancing on my head. So, no one’s gonna be looking at me when we’re doing that dance. They’re gonna say, “There’s a frog dancing.” That’s what’s gonna be happening. So, I got away with it.
TINA FEY: My singing sounds like, if you’ve ever seen the movie version of Oliver!, when the little boy sings and you can hear the hiss from how loud they had to turn up the microphone. My singing sounds like that. Bret wrote really, really good songs that make us seem good.
TY BURRELL: America, and the world, were spared my singing voice, except for two notes. I don’t know if you noticed that, but I think it was by design. I spoke my song, but I was thrilled to do it. I’m a huge fan of Bret McKenzie.
SAM EAGLE: You are selling yourself short. You’re a great singer, a great actor and a great American.
Tina, why is Nadya a better woman for Kermit than Miss Piggy?
FEY: Nadya is less work than Piggy. You can give Nadya a bag of hot rocks for Valentine’s day, and she will not care. She’s a cheap date.
What do you guys think that kids will like most about this movie?
FEY: I have kids, so I’ll answer. I think they’re gonna like how funny the movie is. There are a lot of jokes in the movie, and kids who are 8, 9 and 10 years old take a lot of pride in getting the jokes. It makes them feel big.
GERVAIS: It doesn’t patronize kids. It aims higher. I remember when I was a kid, watching The Muppets. I had older brothers and sisters and they were laughing, so I knew that it was cool, as well as good for me. I think kids relate to that. They like things that adults like.
How did The Muppets inspire you?
BURRELL: I was constantly inspired by The Muppets. I never realized just how overrated I was, until I went out to do a scene with somebody who was doing eight things at once. All I had to do was try to remember my words, and I failed at that miserably.
SAM EAGLE: This man is such a great actor. He had me going. I literally thought he was a Frenchman. He was so convincing that I think his portrayal of a Frenchman will go down in history as the most convincing portrayal of a Frenchman in film.
BURRELL: I think we finally really bonded when we realized that we had the exact same eyebrows.
SAM EAGLE: Yes. And one day, when I showed up to set without mine, he was kind enough to let me borrow his.
BURRELL: Yeah, I had a surplus.
Kermit, what are you most proud of?
KERMIT: I’m actually stretching myself quite a lot, as a dramatic actor, in this thing. I did many, many scenes with Tina. One particular scene stands out to me. It was a closed set. It was the scene where she licks me. I just wanna clear it up right here with the press that Tina is happily married. [Her husband] was there during the shooting.
FEY: My husband was there, and he was being very controlling and creepy. And I had never done a scene like that before. I’ve filmed a lot of weird stuff at home, but to have a whole crew there, I was nervous, and Kermit really put me at ease. But, I did hallucinate for three or four hours.
KERMIT: That’s odd because I had blood tests before and I thought the toxins were low.
FEY: It was pretty trippy.
How was it to play the villain?
GERVAIS: It’s quite nice playing a slime ball and villain. I like that. I like playing flawed characters. It’s fun. It’s an exorcism. You’re saying, “See, I’m not really like that, myself.” So, it was great fun for me, and I bonded with [Constantine] immediately. I’ve loved The Muppets for 35 years. I love Kermit, and I love his nephew Robin, even though he’s got no neck. I love frogs. Kermit was my favorite until I met Constantine. I’m sorry to say this, but Constantine might be my best buddy.
KERMIT: I totally understand. You guys worked closely together. I accept that.
CONSTANTINE: I have no comment on this.
For those of you who have kids, does it give you street cred to work with and become friends with The Muppets?
BURRELL: My kids are still so unimpressed by me. I’m banking this one. If I wanna save my ego I’m gonna bank this and pull it out in five years. So far, it’s just one minute of, “Why is daddy on screen?,” and 90 minutes of, “I’m hungry.”
GERVAIS: I haven’t got children, but when I found out I was doing this film, I just went and hung around schools, telling them at play time. I said, “Hey kids, you don’t know who I am yet, but do you know The Muppets? You wait. You’re going to be impressed.
FEY: My children are very excited to see the movie, but they just want me to be Queen Elsa.
Miss Piggy, how was it to work with Celine Dion?
MISS PIGGY: Working with Celine Dion was a pleasure. It was a joy for her, naturally. I’m only too happy to let her ride my coat tails up to the Oscar stage. We only spent a little time together, but it was very meaningful to her.
How did you like the wedding gown that Vivienne Westwood designed for you?
MISS PIGGY: She made moi a beautiful gown out of recycled plastic bottles. It took a little while to get over that, but as they say something old, something new, something recycled, something or other.
KERMIT: Lucky for me, she didn’t get to keep the wardrobe.
Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters on March 21st.