Writer Nick Stoller On 'The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time'
With the success of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the hilarious looking spin-off film Get Him to the Greek featuring Russell Brand reprising his role as raucous British rocker Aldous Snow, director Nick Stoller has quite the magic touch with R-rated comedy. So who would've thought that Stoller and Jason Segel would be the right guys to write a more tame, but potentially no-less-hilarious comedy with The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time, which will be the first Muppet movie since the lackluster '99 film Muppets from Space. ComingSoon recently met up with Stoller who talked about exactly how he's approaching the iconic puppets.
Though Stoller and Segel (who is also starring) are only writing the script, they have been working closely with director James Bobin to deliver a Muppet movie that is not only respectful of the Henson characters, but is fun for the whole family by capturing the magic and humor that made The Muppet Movie so great.
"Muppets is I think for everyone. When you watch the original Muppet movie, we're going for that tone of 'The Muppet Movie,' 'The Great Muppet Caper,' 'Muppets Take Manhattan,' that kind of awesome original tone. It's like watching the original 'Simpsons.' There's a joke every second, they're very funny, they appeal to kids and adults, and that's what we're going for, we're going for that kind of tone. I always call The Muppets, the 'gateway drug for comedy nerds.' It's the first comedy we're introduced to, at least people our age. That's what we're going for with that. It will be for the whole family I guess, and for anyone who likes Muppets."
In case anyone is worried that people like Segel, Stoller & Bobin, who are technically outside of the Henson creative team, will ruin the legacy of the Muppets, Stoller says they've been working with plenty of Muppet experts who are keeping them in line, and when you hear just how deep into Muppet lore Bobin's mind is, you'll be impressed:
"We just had a table read on Saturday and the puppeteers, they've been working with those characters forever, so they're giving notes, and we have a muppet expert who gave notes. We also have 'The Muppet Bible' that Jim Henson and Frank Oz wrote, which has all the rules of the muppets. The three of us are kind of Muppet freaks. I love Muppets. I'm a fan, Segel is a fanatic, and James Bobin knows so many Muppets. He knows Muppets that I never heard of and that even Jason hadn't heard of. He'd say, 'I think this scene calls for Uncle Deadly' and we'd be like, 'Who is Uncle Deadly?' and he'd go on YouTube and show me this strange vulture creature. That's kind of amazing."
Amazing indeed. I'm already looking forward to this, even though IMDb says it won't be released until 2012. I've always loved the Muppets and have fond memories of watching "Muppets Tonight" in the 90's, and am always interested in watching all of the classic bits from decades past. Stoller sounds dedicated and educated on all things Muppets, and I think this trio of talent has the right stuff to bring the Muppets back to comedic glory. Hopefully this actually heads into production sooner than later, but we'll definitely keep you updated on the latest regarding The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time. Anyone excited as I am?
Reader Feedback - 16 Comments
I really dig the dedication. I'm very excited.
Cracky on May 19, 2010
the muppets attraction at Disneyland California adventure is one of my favorites. I have no doubt if this is done right that it will be classic!
indyjack86 on May 19, 2010
The Muppets deserve another great movie, and I think this is shaping up to be one.
Nick on May 19, 2010
It really sounds like these guys "get it". What I loved about the original Muppets stuff was that it was humor that kids could laugh at, but there was also stuff that you didn't quite get until you were an adult. Stuff that was edgy at the time. They've just been "softened" over time and made too kid-friendly. I'd like to see a return to their former glory, and hopefully these are the guys to do that. Plus, if Segel helps write some of the music... totally stoked for that at the least.
Pete the Geek on May 19, 2010
Personally, I liked Muppets From Space. It was my introduction to Pepe the Prawn and he totally stole the movie. Now if you want to see some "Vintage" Muppet stuff, try and dig up the old appearances on SNL back in the mid 70's. Definitely not kid friendly, that's for sure. The Muppet Experience at California Adventure was flat out awesome. Here's hoping they show the proper respect to the legacy and it looks to be shaping up that way. Let's hope the posters are awesome too!
DLM Entertainment on May 19, 2010
Very excited. Can't wait!
Dark Fist on May 19, 2010
The problem with the muppets and what has brought them down after the first few movies is that they throw in too many of the extra characters and don't boil it down primarily to the big 4:Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzy, and Gonzo--with Animal as an occasional fifth for extra laughs. Of course ALL of the other characters are lovable and should still have their place in the film, but for the marketing, it just looks like a mess when they show hundreds grouped together all the time. And inside word has it that the people in charge of the muppets estate are too stiff and overprotective with the muppets, which ends up restricting a lot creative ideas. I'm told they're the ones to blame for the muppets having gone to childish and won't let them go back to the all ages appeal that they first had. Good luck to Nick Stoller. Simpsons, I think not.
anonymous on May 20, 2010
Uncle Deadly might be coming back?! Awesome!!! I have no doubt that this will be an awesome Muppet movie, Segel and Stoller's dedication has already proven that. As for the estate's tight control, I think that they are realizing that they need to go back to that edgy state and that the softened approach has brought down the franchise, otherwise they wouldn't have brought in Segel and Stoller. I'm excited and can't wait (big Muppets fanatic!!).
Zach Shaw on May 20, 2010
"...the lackluster '99 film Muppets from Space." You are so wrong, so terribly wrong, in that statement. Muppets From Space was hilarious and a true homage to its roots while creating an entirely new and creative movie for newbies and fans alike. That was movie is gold for Muppet fans. Its really too bad you don't see that. Other than that....CAN'T WAIT!!!!!
Voice of Reason on May 20, 2010
Love the Muppets. The first taste of real comedy I had as a kid was from the Muppets. And the first three movies have yet to be topped. Just please remember the comedy type is slapstick, puns and silliness ie: Vaudeville. No dry humor, no current events humor, no PC humor, nothing that a 5 year old kid wouldn't get. And that goes the same for the plot AND the songs! Good luck.
l.21 on May 20, 2010
Jim Henson R.I.P
BigZero on May 20, 2010
I don't get what the deal is with these child-men actors who raid their toy boxes for movie ideas. Muppets and Stretch Armstrong? Both old and cheezy. A full-length Gumby movie will be next I suppose. Here's why I think a new Muppet movie is a bad idea and why my kids and I won't be going to see it: I saw Muppets From Space, reluctantly, and that's what convinced me that the Muppets are truly past their prime. Waaaayyyy past it. It was soooo bad. And I barely made it through most of Muppets Wizard of Oz, but when Gonzo talked about his nipples, I changed that channel - not that I didn't have plenty of incentive to do so before then. The kids had stopped watching anyway. The Muppets legacy has already been ruined with these films. I don't think there's much of a legacy left. Jim Henson R.I.P. indeed. If only people would do that, and with his creations as well. Which begs the question: How could this movie be "The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made" when Jim Henson is dead?
Sparkles on May 20, 2010
The Muppet Christmas Carol is my favorite muppet movie, can watch it time and time again.
Loser on May 20, 2010
What made the Muppets funny? they were universally good jokes & humor that happened to feature puppets. They need to stick to that... I am sooooo pulling for this and the Dark Crystal... (*fingers crossed)
jomba joose on May 20, 2010
I appreciate this guy's enthusiasm for the project, but The Muppets were never the same after Jim Henson passed away. It's 20 years since he died.
casting couch on May 21, 2010
Stoller did great in Get Him to the Greek. He makes a hilarious tandem with Russell Brand and Jonah Hill. Catch stills of the movie here: http://vibe.com/photo-galleries/freeze-frame-get-him-greek
NeverAfter on May 28, 2010
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