So cameras started rolling on The Muppets sequel, creatively titled The Muppets… Again!, and to note the occassion, the production has released two promotional pictures – one of the Muppet cast on a London train platform and one of Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy with human co-star Rick Gervais.
Additionally, the folks at Entertainment Weekly had a short sit-down with Kermit and he spilled the beans a bit about the follow-up’s storyline -
The idea of this film is that our gang is on this global tour, and we’re selling out these grand theaters all over Europe—in Berlin, Madrid, London—but we sort of get into a little bit of trouble when we run across my doppleganger. He’s the world’s number one criminal, Constantine, and he happens to look an awful lot like me. I won’t tell you any more than that, but let’s just say mayhem ensues.
We talked about putting me in makeup and having me play both roles, but we decided Constantine needed to be a guy who could do a Russian accent. And, you know, I’m a pretty accomplished actor and all, but besides the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, I’ve only really ever played myself. The great thing is, I have like 3,000 relatives back in the swamp, so it was quite easy to find a frog who could play Constantine.
The film will also star Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, who’s playing a French Interpol agent, and Tina Fey as a Russian prison guard named Nadya. It is set for a March 21, 2014 release.
British comic actor Ricky Gervais is set to star alongside Ty Burrell as one of the few humans who will appear opposite the Muppets in the forthcoming sequel to last year’s hit The Muppets. The Hollywood Reporter is stating that Gervais is currently in talks to appear in the as-yet-unnamed sequel in an unspecified role, though his amount of screen time should be similar to that of Jason Segal’s who starred in the first film, making him the film’s lead human character.
In addition to Gervais and Burrell, there is reportedly one other lead character, a woman, who has not been cast yet.
Gervais had been slated to appear in a short cameo in 2011′s The Muppets and had even filmed his part only to have it hit the cutting room floor. He can be briefly glimpsed in the background in the film’s big closing number. It remains to be seen if Gervais will be singing more in this new film as the script is under tight wraps.
Personally, I think that Gervais’s dry sense of humor will make a nice compliment to the Muppets more wacky antics. Hopefully, this will come out in James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller’s screenplay.
The untitled Muppets sequel is set to start filming in London early next year.
With How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segal not returning to join his The Muppets co-stars for a second film after helping relaunch their franchise, Disney has turned to another star from another popular sitcom to take the human lead of the planned sequel – Modern Family‘s Ty Purrell.
Burrell will be taking the role of a police inspector that Christoph Waltz had originally been considered for last month. Waltz had to drop out of the project due to scheduling conflicts.
The Muppets director James Bobin is returnng for similar duties on the sequel, which will see the Kermit the Frog and friends head to Europe where they will get mixed up in some sort of caper. According to the Hollywood Reporter, other human characters in the comedy will include Russian femme fatale and a male lead with questionable intentions. Bobbin has also co-written the film’s screenplay with Nicholas Stoller. Shooting is set to start later this winter in London.
1. The Pirates! Band Of Misfits (Sony/Columbia, 3,358 Theaters, 88 Minutes, Rated PG): Kind of a busy week for the movies. I guess the studios are dumping all their leftovers before the summer movies season begins next week, a month and a half before the official start of summer.
Maybe “leftovers” is a bit too cruel. This film is by Aardman Animation, the folks who brought us Chicken Run and Wallace and Gromit, so they have a pretty good track record.
The film follows a band of pirates who are trying to win a “Pirate of the Year” contest who somehow get involved with Charles Darwin and run afoul of Queen Victoria. Wackiness ensues, voiced by an all-star, international cast.
2. The Five-Year Engagement (Universal, 2,936 Theaters, 124 Minutes, Rated R): Jason Segel has developed a career on film as a sad sack who always has a difficulty in the relationship department (usually in films he has a hand in writing). Emily Blunt has failed to fully capitalize on the big splash she made in The Devil Wears Prada. Now, they are together in this film, one which–surprise–Segel co-wrote and–just as surprising–produced by Judd Apatow (he’s the said “producer of Bridesmaids” on the poster to the left).
They play a couple whose engagement stretches to a five-year span through some incredible and extreme circumstances.
I’m a big fan of the Apatow school of comedy, and liked both The Muppets and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, but this one just seems kind of eh for me. I’ve seen Segel playing someone who has fate screw up his happy romantic ending before. Do I really need to see it again?
3. Safe (Lionsgate, 2,266 Theaters, 94 Minutes, Rated R): The initial premise of this film reminds me of one my favorite “acquired taste” films, Shoot ‘Em Up. Both films feature a man who stumbles a group of thugs meaning to do harm to an innocent child. The man, skilled in the art of combat, defends the child from its attackers and acts as its protector until he can figure out what the bad guys want with the kid.
From there, the paths diverge. Shoot ‘Em Up was a live-action cartoon that pushed its violence to an absurd level. This film seems to be more of a conventional thriller.
Jason Statham’s films remind me of the kinds Chuck Norris and a early Steven Segal used to make. The films might not be Oscar worthy, but if you’re in the mood for a tough guy hitting bad guy in the face with his foot, you’re bound to be entertained.
4. The Raven (Relativity, 2,203 Theaters, 111 Minutes, Rated R): Just noticed that three of the four films out this week are Rated R. That hardly ever happens anymore.
As dismissive as I was at the start of this column about the week’s new releases, I’d probably have a hard time picking which one I would like to see first. I can see value in all of them (yes, even The Five-Year Engagement). But if I had to choose, I’d choose this one, if only for the premise alone.
I’m a big fan of Poe. That man has the market cornered on macabre wit. To build a period piece about a serial killer using Poe’s writings to kill his victims and Poe having to be called in to try and catch him is brilliant. While I do think that John Cusack looks a bit too healthy to play
Late last week we learned that The Muppets director James Bobin and co-writer Nicholas Stoller were currently in the process of developing a sequel to Disney’s $154 million hit, but that co-writer and human star of the film Jason Segel would not take part of the writing due to his own heavy schedule. Disappointing, but those reports did hold out the hope that Segel would possibly be back to act in the film, if needed.
Unfortunately, in an interview with Collider, Segel stated that he won’t be back to appear in a new Muppet film either.
It’s true but it’s totally amicable. My goal was to bring The Muppets back and I did that leaving them in very good hands, my writing partner and James Bobin the director. I did what I set out to do, and now I wanna pursue more human-related projects (laughs).
Ever since his film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, it was obvious that Segel was a Muppets fan and it certainly shows in the work he did on The Muppets screenplay. And I certainly have some qualms about a sequel moving forward without his involvement. But given who the character arc for both Segel’s character Gary and his muppet brother Walter, there is no driving story need to bring the character back.
Segel doesn’t close the door on all involvement with the revitalized franchise going forward though.
All I wanted to do was to set the stage for them to do whatever they wanted. I’m sure I’ll return in some capacity here and there, but that was half a decade of my life. Five years of hard work. I’m ready for a little puppet break.
I certainly wouldn’t rule out a quick cameo from the actor. In the meantime, you can continue to catch Segel on at least one more season of How I Met Your Mother after the current one ends, the new Duplass Brothers comedy Jeff Who Lives At Home which opens this week and the upcoming comedies The Five-Year Engagement and This Is Forty.
With nearly $154 million in worldwide box office, Disney is pretty happy with The Muppets director James Bobin co-writers Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel that they’ve officially ordered up a script for a sequel. Unfortunately, one of that triumvirate, Jason Segel, will not be participating in the writing.
It was Segel’s passion for the Muppets that was able to get the project rolling at Disney and the resultant movie is very much a love letter to the characters. But thanks in part to his work as both writer and non-foam and felt star of the film, Segel’s star has been on the rise and he has a lot on his plate right now including an upcoming seventh season of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, three films coming out this year (Jeff Who Lives at Home, The Five-Year Engagement and This is Forty) as well as a couple of writing assignments. So there’s the cruel irony that all the work he is getting in part due to The Muppets is the thing that is keeping him from coming back to work on the franchise again. (And if that doesn’t sound like a good plot for a future Muppets film, I don’t know what does.)
But while Segel won’t be able to participate in the scripting, sources tell Vulture that he could still return to act in the film if the story that Bobin and Stoller develop call for a return of his character. Considering that production is probably a year off at least, he certainly has advanced enough warning on when to potentially keep his schedule open.
If their win last night of Best Original Song has you itching for more things Muppets, here’s a little something to scratch that itch until the film’s DVD and blu-ray hit on March 20. Disney has released three sneak peeks at some of the special features that the discs will have – a deleted scene, a gag reel and one of the behind-the-scenes featurettes.
Every year, the producers of the Academy Awards telecast fiddle with the format in an effort to keep it entertaining and the program from running over the usual three hours allotted. Some of their ideas work and some of are greeted with a wave of negative criticism. One of those ideas that is looking as if it is not going to be met too warmly is the rumored dropping of performances of this year’s nominees for Best Original Song.
Deadline is reporting from unnamed sources that Awards telecast producers Brian Grazer and Don Mischer have been at least contemplating the idea, though Deadline notes that another source is telling them that nothing is set in stone yet. The reason offered for the possible exclusion of the performances this year is time constraints.
But given the fact that there are only two nominees this year – Which some consider a travesty on its own given that 93 songs qualified this year – it is extremely hard to swallow the excuse that the performances might be cut for time. Previous telecasts have almost always found the time for anywhere between three to five live performances of that year’s nominated songs.
If this is truly the case, then perhaps that will mean we won’t have to sit through the umpteenth resurrection of telecast host Billy Crystal’s “Oscar! Oscar!” song and dance bit at the top of the show. (The first couple of times were funny, but the bit has since morphed into the very thing it used to be parodying.)
Now I have to confess that since I am not a big pop music fan, I generally don’t care too much about the competition in the Best Original Song category. And ever since I saw Rob Lowe dirty dancing with Snow White in an Academy Awards musical production number several years back, one of the main reasons I look forward to the category is to see what kind of potential train wreck we may be getting that year.
But this was one of the few years that I was actually looking forward in a positive way to see what was in store for the performance of “Man Or Muppet” from The Muppets. It’s rare that comedies get any kind of attention from the Academy but the last two times that songs from a comedic film have been nominated – “Kiss AT The End Of The Rainbow” from A Mighty Wind in 2003 and “Blame Canada” from South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut – were both memorable in their own ways.
The last time that the Oscars went without any sort of musical performance for Best Original Song was back in 1989. It wasn’t well received then and I doubt it will be this time around either.
1. The Muppets (Buena Vista, 3440 screens, 120 minutes, Rated PG): Perhaps the most anticipated major release this holiday weekend, at least around the Film Buff Online offices, is the return of the Muppets to the big screen after far too long an absence. The advance word on this is really strong and this could be their best film since the passing of the creator Jim Henson back in 1990.
Jason Segal stars as Gary who journeys to Hollywood with his muppet brother Walter and his girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) to visit the old studio that the Muppets used to perform their popular TV show only to discover that a greedy businessman (Chris Cooper) has plans to demolish the studio to get at a big reserve supposedly buried underneath. The three set out to reunite the Muppets in order to save the studio.
With Segal being the guy who did full frontal nudity inn Saving Sarah Marshall, he may seem as an usual pick to star in and co-write the return of the family franchise to the big screen. But in every interview I’ve seen Segal has exuded a love of the characters that makes me think that the things are in good hands.
2. Arthur Christmas (Sony Pictures, 3376 Screens, 97 Minutes, Rated PG ): From the folks at Aardman Animations, the brains behind the wonderful Wallace And Grommit stop-motion animated films, comes this story of Santa’s son Arthur Christmas who lives in the shadow of his famous father and his older brother Steve who is looking to take over the family business. When an undelivered present is discovered, Arthur sets out to get it under its assigned tree while Steve and Santa squabble.
While the story sounds like a lot of fun, it unfortunately is going up against two other family features with better name-brand recognition and I don’t think that even a big name voice cast with the likes of James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Bill Night and Jim Broadbent will get butts into seats for this one. They might be better off hoping that they get the run off of people who couldn’t get into showings of The Muppets or Hugo.
3. Hugo (Paramount, 1277 screens, 127 minutes, Rated PG):
When a long time filmmaker like Martin Scorsese states that he wants to work in 3D, one has to wonder what he wants to bring to the process. We’ll get that answer with his adaption of Brian Selznick’s novel The Invention Of Hugo Cabaret.
Asa Butterfield stars as a young orphan who is living withing the walls of a Paris train station in the 1930s who discovers a broken automaton in a disused store room.
As the story contains early film technology pioneer George Melies (played by Sir Ben Kingsley in the film) as a character, it is easy to understand how a film historian like Scorsese became interested in the project. And there is a certain metatextual symmetry to him making the film with one of the newest filmmaking technologies.
One of the great things about Disney’s overall marketing for the upcoming The Muppets has been reintroducing the characters to a new generation of audiences through a series of trailers that have parodied a number of movies and genres. With the film just a few week away, Disney has released its final trailer for the film and the parodies just keep on coming. Take a look-