In ‘Muppets Most Wanted,’ a different tone for Kermit and the gang

“Muppets Most Wanted” red carpet
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy arrive at the world premiere of “Muppets Most Wanted” at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
(Christopher Polk / Getty Images for Disney)

Tina Fey looks to be a less friendly face for the beloved Muppets in this weekend’s sequel “Muppets Most Wanted,” playing Siberian prison guard Nadya. But Fey said her role in the new film belies her feelings about the fuzzy creatures -- like many cast members, she has been a Muppets fan as both a kid and an adult.

“I loved the last movie they did,” she told The Times, when asked what made her want to be part of the latest film. “I thought it was a great reboot of the traditional Muppets movies, they really captured the spirit.”

“Muppets Most Wanted” picks up right where the 2011 film left off with the Muppets heading on a European tour. As the Muppets travel overseas, they find themselves involved in an international crime caper headed by the evil Kermit the Frog doppelganger Constantine and his sidekick, the scheming tour manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais).

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Director James Bobin noted the unusual chronological approach in the sequel. “It literally starts seconds after the last one,” he said. “It’s a what-happens-next kind of movie -- I thought why not have the Muppets ask themselves that kind of question.”

As for the characters in the real world, well, they know how to make an entrance: Fashionably late and with a star-studded entourage.

At the premiere of “Muppets Most Wanted” in Hollywood last week, the A-list puppets rolled up in black cars at 5:15 p.m., while Sweetums led the Muppets crew by foot, stomping around the red carpet as the cars trailed closely behind him.

“Hellooooo Muppet fans,” Kermit yelled from the car as Miss Piggy, sitting beside him, blew kisses.


Constantine, meanwhile, peeped out of the back window of the car without waving or speaking to reporters.

Rowlf drove the second car – with Fozzie Bear riding shotgun and Gonzo, Scooter, Animal and Walter (star of the 2011 “The Muppets”) hanging out of the car’s moon roof.  

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The new film also stars Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napolean, Danny Trejo as himself and Dylan Postl as Prisoner One.

In addition to the casting, the film could approach the universe of the Jim Henson creatures a bit differently than the 2011 reboot.

“In the 2011 film there was a lot of ground we had to cover,” said producer David Hoberman. “We had to bring the Muppets back and reintroduce them to the world.”

Bret McKenzie, songwriter and music supervisor for the 2011 and 2014 Muppets films, said this film also adopted a different tone.

“I think it’s always going to be compared to the last one but I think by making it a caper it’s a different kind of film,” McKenzie, also known for “Flight of the Conchords,” said. “For the Muppet traditionalists, [“Muppets Most Wanted”] is probably more true to the original Muppets genre.”


Of course, as with all “Muppets” films, there are plenty of cameos, including ones by Sean Combs and Celine Dion. “There’s a lot of surprises, a lot of fun famous faces,” added producer Todd Lieberman.


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