Catching Up With Kermit, Miss Piggy And Walter On The Set Of Muppets Most Wanted
It was a little over two years ago when audiences around the world were re-introduced to the wonderful gang of performers known as the Muppets. Breaking a painful stretch of 12 years without a theatrical release featuring the Jim Henson creations, James Bobin’s The Muppets not only introduced the characters to a whole new generation, but also reinvigorated a deep love in older audiences as well. Thankfully the amazing film was successful enough to spur a sequel, and back in May of last year I took a drive over to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles where I joined a small group of other film reporters and enjoyed a full day on set of Muppets Most Wanted, watching the production in action and interviewing the people and Muppets who made it all happen.
The first direct sequel in the Muppet movie franchise, the new film picks up almost immediately after the end of the last story and finds the cuddly, hard-working troupe once again famous and back on top of the world. In order to celebrate the comeback, they organize a touring trip around Europe, but wind up getting in some serious trouble when they become deeply involved in a plan by the world’s most notorious thief, Constantine.
The scene we got to watch them shoot takes place early in the film and was shot to actually take place on-location at Union Station. Nearly 20 different Muppets – ranging in size from Rizzo The Rat to Sweetums – sat on the train platform surrounded by large, stacked piles of luggage containing random things like musical instruments, Pigs in Space props, and even a bull in a crate. Quieting everybody down, Kermit addressed the group announcing that they were finally ready to embark on their world tour, and that he planned it out in classic style by booking a tour train (never bothering to mention how a train would get from LA to Europe). The Muppets look behind Kermit in awe at the shiny train behind him, but then Kermit tells them that’s not the train he means. The fancy train then pulls away to reveal a significantly crappier train that has Beauregard the janitor sitting in the front seat – much to the dismay of all the Muppets. The production used a blue screen for both of the trains in the shot, but it was absolutely spectacular just watching the reactions change from jubilation to despair on the faces of the Muppet crowd.
Standing on set and watching the Muppets act less than 10 feet away from me had my inner child running around like his hair was on fire and is certainly a memory that I will never forget for the rest of my life, but that wasn’t even the best part of the day. Instead, that honor goes to getting the chance to speak directly with Kermit, Miss Piggy and Walter about not only what their roles are in the new movie, but also just what they’ve been up to since we last heard from them.
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