Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fans of Kermit and Gang Unite for Newest �Muppets� Screen Adventure

Fans of Kermit and 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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