Fans of Kermit, gang unite for newest “Muppets” Screen Adventure



Ranging in age from 8 to 80, Muppet fans span the globe. So it makes sense that Disney’s new comedy adventure “The Muppets” was ignited by a Muppet fan. “It started when I was a kid,” says Jason Segel who stars in the film and serves as one of the writers and producers. “The Muppets were my first comic influence and I was in love with puppetry. I just thought it was an amazing art form.”
           
“All comedy writers are Muppet fans,” adds co-writer Nicholas Stoller. “It’s the gateway to comedy. It’s like the first thing you try and then you slowly fall down the rabbit hole of comedy.”
           
A film Segel and Stoller previously collaborated on actually set things in motion, says Segel. “We ended ‘Forgetting Sarah Marshall’ with a lavish puppet musical, and The Jim Henson Company designed the puppets. Something started growing in my belly, and Nick and I came up with this idea and pitched it to Disney. Disney liked the idea so we wrote the script.”
           
Enter producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman—each with their own affinity to all things Muppets. “I think there's always been a timeless quality to the Muppets,” says Hoberman, who cites the Muppets’ recent online smash viral video “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “These characters are as contemporary today as they were when Henson first brought them to life. I think people of all ages will respond to them on the big screen.”
           
Disney’s “The Muppets” will welcome a whole new generation into the world of the Muppets, and director James Bobin can attest to the positive influence these characters can have on young audiences. “I watched the Muppets at a very early age in England, and they have significantly influenced my sense of humor and what I find funny.”
           
Segel says it’s the Muppets’ sense of humor that differentiates them. “Modern comedy makes jokes at other people’s expense,” he says. “The Muppets never make fun of anybody. They’re all about being good and nice and trying to make the world a better place. It’s easy to get a laugh out of making fun of somebody, but the Muppets never relied on that.”
           
Influenced by their affinity for Muppet mayhem, filmmakers introduced Walter, a central character who’s driven by his lifelong love of the Muppets. According to Segel, Walter’s wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets. “Walter is naive, sweet, innocent, wide-eyed—he’s very much like Kermit before Kermit became famous,” says Segel. “But he just wants to belong. He’s looking for a family, really. The Muppets are the only people he’s ever seen who were like him, so his quest is to become one of the Muppets.”
           
Adds Walter, who is as big a Muppet fan in real life as his character is, “I start out just wanting to meet the Muppets but then have to help Kermit get the gang back together to save Muppet Studios. It’s the role of my lifetime. In fact, it is my life.”
           
Says Kermit, “Walter gets so excited being around the Muppets. I’ve never met anyone like him…except maybe Jason Segel.”
           
Opening soon across the Philippines, “The Muppets” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.
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