The vast majority of us grew up on Sesame Street. Big Bird, Cookie Monster, The Count, Snuffy, Oscar The Grouch, they helped raise us one half-hour a day at a time. So when we see our childhood heroes do things or say things out of character, it can be a bit jarring. Like dropping the F-bomb during an episode. Grover seemingly did just that, and the internet couldn’t believe their ears. Did our beloved, silly, over-the-top Grover finally lose it? Or are we projecting what we want to hear onto our familiar fictional felt-covered fellows?
It seemed like a sure thing. People like Muppets, right? It had a great nerdy lead-out in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Muppets themselves have a long history of fan service and fun that should have made it appointment television weekly. So why did it fail? Why did it fold after one season? How can you screw up a slam dunk like The Muppets? Easy, according to Frank Oz, if you don’t respect the material, or the people that deliver it, that’s how you fail. At least that’s the assessment Oz has to offer, and he should know because he’s been a Muppet! (more…)
When it comes to the world of Muppets and old-school puppetry, look no further than the amazingly talented Frank Oz (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Little Shop of Horrors, and What About Bob?). Oz’s career has encompassed his talented work as a puppeteer, voice-over artist (This is the man who voiced Yoda for crying out loud!), and director. Oz hasn’t directed a film since 2007’s Death at a Funeral but has taken the helm of a project near and dear to his heart. Oz has put together Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched, a documentary all about the secrets behind one of the most popular variety shows of all time: The Muppet Show.
When we last left the gang on Star Wars Rebels, they had freed an operative who had a ton of intelligence on the evil doings of the Empire and barely escaped the twirling lightsaber of death of The Inquisitor. But when the show comes back next week after a two month hiatus, the Disney XD show will be bringing back a classic Star Wars character to help Kanan and the Ghost crew on another dangerous mission. As we previously reported, Yoda will reach out with the Force to his fellow Jedi Kanan in episode “Path of the Jedi,” and when he does, the voice of the Jedi Master will be that of Frank Oz, the actor/puppeteer that played him in both the original and prequel film trilogies. And now, we have the first clip. (more…)
When J.J. Abrams, everyone’s favorite genre director, posted online yesterday a video inviting fans to enter an auction to win a role in Star Wars Episode VII, it offered a tantalizing look at the Abu Dhabi set of the film, and then some weird look ostrich man carrying a bunch of cages walked out behind Abrams, and everyone said, “Hey, that looks cool.” Cool-looking aliens are no stranger to the Star Wars set, but they usually only look cool after several months of post production, since during the prequels it seemed like George Lucas had abandoned practical effects completely. But inquiring fans want to know, did Abrams go pro with his ostrich man? Did he recruit the fine people at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop to bring these new alien creations to life? The answer comes right after the break… (more…)
There’s been a lot of Star Wars news and rumors going around lately, particularly with regards to the subjects of future stand-alone projects. Though they wouldn’t reveal much about what they expect for the future, writers Lawrence Kasdan (Empire Strikes Back) and Simon Kinberg (X-Men: Days of Future Past) did chat a bit about their upcoming involvement with the franchise.
Kasdan had this to say when asked about Episode VII:
They’re going to be fun. J.J. (Abrams)’s a great director for the first sequel. Perfect. We’re very happy to have him. The writers I’ve been working with – Michael Arndt, who’s going to write the sequel, and Simon Kinberg, who has, like me, been sort of consulting — they’re great. I’ve never really collaborated a lot, and I’ve never been a room with a bunch of writers thinking, “Well, what should this thing be?” It’s fun. It’s really fun. And J.J.’s a writer. Yeah, lovely guy. I’d met him but didn’t know him. But now I’m totally enamored by him. He’s really funny and so enthusiastic.
And Kinberg talked about what to expect in the future. Or rather he elected to not talk about it:
This is what I would say: as a fan, I wouldn’t want to know too much. I know that’s impossible because it’s not the ’70s or ’80s anymore, but part of what was so exciting about A New Hope for me was I was entering into a universe I didn’t know. Even in Empire, I was surprised by a twist I never would have seen coming. But it’s different nowadays. I understand the excitement, and I’m happy that people are interested, obviously. But I’d rather people have something left to discover when they go in.
And with the rumors of a Yoda-centered spin-off flying around, the next person whose voice needed to be heard was the original voice of Yoda himself, the almighty Frank Oz. He had the following to say with regards to the original puppet Yoda versus the new and improved CGI Yoda:
He’s in my heart. I know Yoda very deeply…The future of Yoda is likely in CGI, as he was rendered in “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” I think it depends on the story, but I think at this point you can’t go back to the puppet. The reason George [Lucas] did the CGI, which I supported, was that he wanted to tell a story that would have been hampered by the physical limitations of the puppet.
So yeah, not much new here folks. Rest assured we will get back to you when it finally comes time for someone to accidently leak something crucial about the films. And we’ll report on every rumor as well, but that’s why you love us, right?
Even though it had been over ten years since the last Muppets film, their comeback this past year has brought them back to the public eye. They presented at the Oscars and won Best Original Song for their song titled, “Man or Muppet”, what could be better? Well, it has just been announced that The Muppets have been confirmed for a sequel. But hold your horses, Jason Segel has already stated that he will not be involved in the film as a screenwriter.
Segel may come back in an acting capacity, but with his ongoing work on CBS’ How I Met Your Mother, and films due to hit theaters this year such as: Jeff Who Lives at Home, The Five-Year Engagement, and This is Forty he is making sure to keep himself pretty busy. Good news is that despite Segel not appearing in the film, Gary his creation, could possibly be part of the film seeing a Muppets director James Bobin and original co-writer Nicholas Stoller are set to pen the script for the sequel very soon.
Of course the big elephant in the room, is the possibility of Frank Oz being part of the sequel. After being offered the opportunity to return as the voice of iconic characters Animal, Miss Piggy, and Fozzy Bear; he decided to turn it down and publicly announce that :
“I wasn’t happy with the script. I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.”
Could the movies success, and popularity allow for the wounds of being beat to the punch with a new Muppets film finally be put to rest or will he really not be involved in this upcoming film as well. The sky is the limit my friend, but for now we have another Muppets film to look forward to, and I can’t wait.
Described as the ‘Muppet Old Guard’, – a group of writers and performers long associated with the franchise (not Statler, Waldorf and that eagle dude as the name led me to believe) are upset with the direction Disney is going with the new movie, ‘The Muppets‘.
In a piece ran by the Hollywood Reporter, the group slams the direction the Jason Segel/Nicholas Stoller re-launch of the Muppets under Mouse is heading in. Calling it ‘too cheap’ (in regards to the fart shoes Fozzy wears in the recent trailer), and lambasts the film for creating a “false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie”, such as Kermit owning a mansion at the start of the movie. THR does note that none of these old guard have seen the film yet, so take the comments in stride.
Frank Oz, arguably the most famous puppeteer next to Jim Henson, went on the record with his displeasure about the upcoming film, “I wasn’t happy with the script… I don’t think they respected the characters. But I don’t want to go on about it like a sourpuss and hurt the movie.” The article also says that the unnamed puppeteer who plays Kermit was at one point debating having his name removed from the credits (oh no, unnamed person, don’t remove your unknown name from the credits I will only sit through on the off chance there is a scene at the end.)
While I will acknowledge what they are saying as valid, it all feels a little sour and pouty to me. Yes if Jim Henson was alive today, he might have sent his Muppets on a different adventure. One we’ll sadly never know. Whatever he would have done, he would have with filled with his energy, excitement and love for the characters. Everything that we’ve seen so far shows that Jason Segel has a love (hell, a full on nerd chubby) for the Muppets. In my humble opion, they look to be in good hands. Yes, this is a new direction, yes this is another evolution of the franchise. That’s exactly what needs to happen for it to continue.
If you want to preserve Jim Henson’s original vision then retire them. That would make the last ever Muppet movie 1999’s ‘Muppets in Space‘… and does anyone really want that to be it’s legacy?