‘Muppets Most Wanted’ misses the genial charm of ‘The Muppets’ stars Amy Adams and Jason Segel (the latter is also notably absent from the writing credits). Gervais is way too camera-aware and consistently out-acted by his furry co-stars. Still, it’s easy to forgive and forget when there’s another cracking one-liner in the wings – and Miss Piggy’s costume changes are a show in themselves.
Kermit the frog interview: ‘Puberty really sticks with you, even for a frog’
The world’s most famous frog has hopped from the swamp to Tinseltown – and into our hearts. But it’s still not easy being green...
Tell us one thing people don’t know about Kermit the Frog.
‘I worked in drag. It’s true! When I was starting out on “Sam & Friends”, a local TV show in Washington DC, I wore a wig and lip-synched Keely Smith’s part on Louis Prima’s “That Old Black Magic”. It was a lot of fun.’
What is your earliest memory?
‘Being a tadpole in the swamp with several thousand brothers and sisters. And, of course, the day I dropped my tail. Puberty really sticks with you, even for a frog.’
When in your life were you happiest?
‘Right now! I’m doing movies and singing and dancing while hanging out with all my friends. Life is good for this talking frog.’
You and Miss Piggy have a tempestuous relationship – why have you stuck with her?
‘We have fun together. We really do. And from what people tell me, we have a real chemistry on screen. I can’t imagine my life without her. And she won’t let me imagine it that way either.’
What is your strategy for working with a diva?
‘Easy… Just. Say. Yes.’
Would you put Miss Piggy in the same league as the great screen stars like Monroe?
‘Miss Piggy is like Marilyn and Garbo and Hepburn and all those great stars rolled into one. Which isn’t to say – or even suggest – that Miss Piggy is large. Not at all. She’s just densely packed with talent. Which isn’t to say she’s dense. Not at all. She’s just full of the kind of… Y’know what? Miss Piggy is one of a kind.’
What makes you laugh?
‘Fozzie’s jokes. Gonzo’s stunts. Lew Zealand’s Boomerang Fish Throwing, penguins dancing, chickens singing… you get the idea.’
What makes you cry?
‘The Swedish Chef’s meatballs (he serves them with a tennis racquet, and they really sting if he hits you). Miss Piggy’s karate chop (which speaks for itself).’
Who is the hardest Muppet to control on set?
‘The obvious answer is Animal – he’s wild and is constantly running through walls and over guest stars. But, in truth, Animal is a real sweet guy (who loves bunnies). So I’d have to say the hardest Muppet to control on set – or off – would be Miss Piggy. She makes outrageous, unreasonable and impossible demands. But we still love her.’
Who is your greatest inspiration?
‘I worked with a great filmmaker and artist named Jim Henson. I’m not sure what exactly he did, but he was always there to give me a lift or lend a hand. He made it fun to be on the set every single day – and he taught me how to ride a bike. Jim is my greatest inspiration.’
Why isn’t it easy being green?
‘Like it says in the song, when you’re green you “seem to blend in with so many ordinary things”. That can make you feel like you’re nothing special – and blending in can be dangerous if you happen to be sunning in the yard when someone decides to mow the lawn. But I’ve learned to love being green.’
What do flies taste like?
‘Muppets Most Wanted’ opens in UK cinemas on Fri Mar 28.