Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Welcome Back To The Park: The First Trailer For 'Jurassic World' Is Here Welcome Back To The Park: The First Trailer For 'Jurassic World' Is Here New Character And Plot Details Emerge For 'True Detective' Season 2 As More Cast Members Confirmed New Character And Plot Details Emerge For 'True Detective' Season 2 As More Cast Members Confirmed James Gunn Says Shared Universe Model Is "Flawed," Plus Listen To "Awesome Mixtape Volume Zero" For 'Guardians' James Gunn Says Shared Universe Model Is "Flawed," Plus Listen To "Awesome Mixtape Volume Zero" For 'Guardians' 'Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens' Trailer Hits Theaters This Friday 'Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens' Trailer Hits Theaters This Friday Christian Bale Admits He Was Initially "Jealous" When Ben Affleck Was Cast As Batman Christian Bale Admits He Was Initially "Jealous" When Ben Affleck Was Cast As Batman Watch: First Trailer For Thomas Vinterberg's 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Watch: First Trailer For Thomas Vinterberg's 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Starring Carey Mulligan Watch: Zac Efron Talks About His Masturbation Techniques In 'The Interview' Segment With James Franco Watch: Zac Efron Talks About His Masturbation Techniques In 'The Interview' Segment With James Franco First Look Images: Patrick Stewart As A Neo-Nazi In 'Blue Ruin' Director Jeremy Saulnier's 'Green Room' & More First Look Images: Patrick Stewart As A Neo-Nazi In 'Blue Ruin' Director Jeremy Saulnier's 'Green Room' & More Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey Watch: Footage From "Sick," Unreleased Marilyn Manson Video, Directed By Eli Roth & Featuring Lana Del Rey R.I.P. Mike Nichols (1931-2014) R.I.P. Mike Nichols (1931-2014) Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Christopher Nolan Talks 'Interstellar' Twist And Enigmatic Ending Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... SXSW Review: Spierig Brothers 'Predestination'  Starring Ethan Hawke SXSW Review: Spierig Brothers 'Predestination' Starring Ethan Hawke From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Some Dissatisfied 'The Muppets' Performers Considered Taking Their Names Off The Movie

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 20, 2011 at 10:33AM

Frank Oz Says He Turned Down 'The Muppets' Because The Script Didn't Respect The CharactersIt seemed almost too good to be true. Buoyed with clever, parody driven teaser spots, an effusive, infectious energy and full-length trailers that really differed, who would've thought that behind the scenes, Disney is not only worried about the upcoming franchise reboot, but there is also dissent among some longtime performers about the approach writers Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller have taken with the brand. THR has an excellently detailed look at the hand-wringing behind the scenes, but it's Frank Oz's recent comments to Metro that synthesize the struggle between the old and new guard.
14

Frank Oz Says He Turned Down 'The Muppets' Because The Script Didn't Respect The Characters



It seemed almost too good to be true. Buoyed with clever, parody driven teaser spots, an effusive, infectious energy and full-length trailers that really differed, who would've thought that behind the scenes, Disney is not only worried about the upcoming franchise reboot, but there is also dissent among some longtime performers about the approach writers Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller have taken with the brand. THR has an excellently detailed look at the hand-wringing behind the scenes, but it's Frank Oz's recent comments to Metro that synthesize the struggle between the old and new guard.

"I wasn't happy with the script," he said about his decision to turn down the film. "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." Strong words from the man behind Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Animal and the director of "The Muppets Take Manhattan," but it's a sentiment that seems to be running through many of the folks involved with the movie in what appears to be a classic case of a new approach some cherished characters ruffling some feathers.

When we catch up with the Muppets next month a lot will have changed since we saw them last. Fozzie is playing with a tribute band, Miss Piggy works at Vogue Paris, Gonzo is a plumbing magnate and there will be a new character too in the form of Walter. And even though they have yet to see the movie -- which has apparently been performing very well at test screenings -- insiders tell THR they have deep concerns with the Segel/Stoller approach. And it all starts with Fozzie's fart shoes from the last trailer.

"We wouldn't do that; it's too cheap. It may not seem like much in this world of [Judd] Apatow humor, but the characters don't go to that place," said one Muppets veteran. Another laments, "They're looking at the script on a joke-by-joke basis, rather than as a construction of character and story." Another is even concerned about stepping outside the established mythology saying that the upcoming film "creates a false history that the characters were forced to act out for the sake of this movie." Put it all together and you have a bunch of people still very much stuck on an approach to The Muppets that is stuck in the past. But don't dismiss that sentiment as just a bunch of old people who don't "get it."

According to THR, a handful of performers on the movie -- including the person who controls Kermit -- considered taking their names off the movie, but changed their mind when they realized it wouldn't make much of a difference anyhow. The chagrin from longtime Muppets veterans are compounded because they've largely felt like an afterthought in the big Disney machine that has barely mustered interest in the franchise until now. And Oz's feelings must be a bit burned because while he had his own Muppets project he was developing to direct at the studio, Disney began talking to Segel at the same time and it was his film that ultimately went forward instead. The twist in all this is that Segel is a massive Muppets fan, and we'd imagine he's horrified at the thought of ruining their legacy. And in his defense, updating the Muppets for contemporary times, while retaining the charm and traits that have served the franchise well over all these years seems to be the right approach. Certainly, what we've seen so far is nothing short of a celebration of Muppets in what is a careful and clever update. But purists are often hard to please and the first to criticize.

Still, there are those in the Muppet camp who are remaining cautiously optimistic. "I'm very hopeful the characters are as warm and loving to each other as they were when Jim was directing," said Bonnie Erickson, executive director of the Jim Henson Legacy. "I'm hoping the standard of excellence that Jim set is maintained."

For Disney's part, the budget of $40 million is relatively small especially when compared to something like, say, "The Lone Ranger," but they are hoping for more than just to be profitable. Disney is all about brands and licensing, and if "The Muppets" takes off it not only reinvigorates a franchise, but creates some new revenue streams. With the movie arriving on Thanksgiving, we'll soon find out. But until then, and highlighting the how the Muppets have been updated in the forthcoming film, a photo spread of Miss Piggy doing her thing in InStyle magazine arrived today. A loving update or straight disrespect to the wholesome quality of the franchise? You decide.







This article is related to: Films, The Muppets


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates