Muppets Mania! My Interview with Director James Bobin! #Muppets #Muppet #TheMuppets #MuppetMonday

Hey All!

As you know I recently had the super AMAZING opportunity to personally interview Kermit, Miss Piggy, Jason Segal & Nick Stoller of the upcoming Muppets Movie! I also got the chance to talk to the Director of the film James Bobin about the movie with my fellow bloggers who were also interviewing him with me. Here are some things he wanted me to share with you about the movie!

What did you do to make the Muppets fresh for this generation?

JB    :    Um, that’s very keen that, rather than just, you know, I was to show them being themselves.  That was the  bottom line for me because I think that the movie has to work for people who know the Muppets, and people, who have no idea who they are.  So I couldn’t just go, “I know they’re great.  I’ve seen them before.”  So, I couldn’t just say they were great, I have to show them doing their thing, being, you know, who they were.  A- a- and so we just, you know, Nick and Jason wrote a great script and I just gave notes and thoughts which worked it out.  But each character would then have their own moment to show the thing they do, so it could make sense if you had no idea who they are. And I think that, you know, from the response of people who’ve watched so far everyone said that you can know nothing about Muppets get who these guys are supposed to be.  And so with me it was that really.  It was just, you know, showing them do their thing, you know.

Did you grow up watching the Muppets?

JB    :    I did.  Well, in England, in England we think it’s an English show because in England you watch hours as a kid and you watch the shows on TV on Sunday afternoons and, you know, it was a show which was shot in England, it was made in England for five years, everyone who made it lived in England. Uh, it was written by Americans and performed by Americans, but the director and the technical staff were all English.  And the actual Muppet Theater itself is an old musical theater, which is, like, a London thing rather than a New York thing.  So it felt very English in a weird way.  But also I think the tone of it, the sense of the, sense of humor is really quite English.  And I think that’s partly because, I don’t know this for sure but I, myself as a writer, I’m very — when you write you’re obviously, you’re influenced by your environment.  There’s no doubt about that.  And these guys worked in England for six years.

Do you have children?

JB    :    I do.

And how much do they love the Muppets?
JB    :    Well, here there are very good experiments because my daughter’s four and my son’s two.  So, uh, they are  the perfect target age. My daughter came on set and, you know, she met Kermit and Kermit is, Steve’s operating kind of like this and Steve’s talking here and she looks at Kermit and she never once looked at Steve, ever.  Ever, ever, ever.  And just, she just thinks Kermit is this frog that walks around and lives in Steve’s arms.  It’s amazing!  And it’s so lovely to see that.  It’s a great testament to the character of Steve’s work that she just buys it.  And, and for me, the movie is about that. The idea that this world exists where puppets and humans co-exit very happily and it’s, you know, we, and I love that about it.  And, and, and one of the great joys of this job for me is doing a show that I can show them and have them appreciate for the first time and, and also it’s such a testament to Frank and Jim’s work on the characters because my daughter watched  show for the first time three years ago and immediately she, after the show finished, said, “I want to watch the one with the pig again.  The pig’s my favorite character.”  And so she was just drawn to Miss Piggy in a way that, you know, girls are. And that’s really clever.  You can do a character like that which girls identify with and love straight away.  And she loves Piggy.  It’s her absolute favorite thing. So, you know, and I hope that continues.

What was it like working with Jason Segel who is an actor but also the writer.  Did you have different views?

JB    :    No, no, no.  ‘Cause obviously, no, it’s easy because obviously when I came on we were still working together and working on the script.  And so when you do a job you do it ’cause you like the script.  It’s not like and he’s a very affable guy, as I’m sure you know.  So we got on very well. We talked, chatted about, you know, we both are Muppet fans, we’re coming from the same place.  And it was very clear, very quickly we wanted to make the same movie.  We had the same idea about what it should be, what should happen in the movie.  And, you know, he, he’s basically, you know, a six foot three Muppet, so it’s a delight to have him on set because he’s a very useful, you know, he’s a burst of great energy all the time.  And he, you know, and he’s really funny and he gets it and he knew, you know, he was very pleased and proud of what we’re doing and all that stuff is great, you know.  And he has a real emotional investment in the project. I mean, you can’t ask for more than that because I mean he really cares about it and so really always gives extra a hundred and ten percent which is fantastic.  So as a director I couldn’t ask for more.

Can we look forward to a gag reel?

JB    :    [LAUGHS] Yeah.  You probably can.  We shot a lot of stuff.  I mean, we really did.  Uh, and, you know, movie’s always come out long when you cut them, and so there’s, you know, there’s deleted scenes, no doubt.  And gag reel?  Yes.  It depends though because obviously at the same time as I like showing the process, it’s kind of nice to not give away too much about how you do it because it’s kind of fun not knowing. And it’s like — I have this thing, actually, about the cameos whereby I’m glad they’re in it but I don’t like talking about them because, for me as a viewer, I’d rather watch it and go, “Oh look, there’s that!”  It makes it more fun, you know.  And if you know they’re gonna be in it looking for them before hand, it’s not as much fun.  So I like the idea that people don’t know how we do it and how it happens.  It’s fun, you know.

There are a lot of cameos in this movie?

JB    :    Yes.  We have a lot, I mean, you know, twenty or so, I think.  A lot of people.  A lot of people.  And it’s really fun watching them just be in the movie.  And some people play themselves and some of them play characters. And it’s very much like the old movies where you have some guys, you know, Bob Hope as an ice cream man but, you know what I mean, some people will just play themselves, like, you know, Orson Welles, kind of playing himself.  So we did both things and for me, I really like the idea people come to watch the movie and see them for the first time and enjoy it like that.  It’s kind of fun.  So.

Do you have a lot of celebrities wanting to be in the movie?  Or did you have to sell it to them?

JB    :    Well, no, it was that thing where, for me it was very, I was keen that the people we had in the movie worked for the movie.  There wasn’t a thing where I wanted to have people on just for the sake of it.  But luckily for us pretty much everyone we asked said yes.  So that was a bonus.  I mean, you know, we obviously, we benefited a great deal from the fact that people love the Muppets.  People love, really love them in a way I’ve, you know, I always have.  And I just obviously assume people think like me.  [LAUGHS]  So everyone does.  I don’t know.  Um, it seemed, it turned out people love the Muppets and that was great because pretty much everyone we asked said yes.  And so the cameos went really well ’cause I feel like they’re part of the movie, which is the most important thing.  They feel, you know, part of it.

Did you find the production designer brought Broadway elements to the movie?

JB    :    Yes.

Was that something that you really wanted to incorporate?

JB    :    Well, it’s because I, I really love, I’ve always loved the Muppet Theater from the Muppet show.  I really felt that show worked because they were in a theater.  They did a, uh, and I just think that, it feels like because they’re part of that same history and in their acts they used to often do old-style vaudeville acts and just feels like that’s where they’re from.  And so in the design of this movie I was very keen to have that sense of history in it whereby it’s like an old vaudeville theater or musical theater. Cause I feel that’s where they live best in their own performing senses.  So, yeah, no, it was really important for me that we had some, you know, it should feel vintage.  A lot of when you do a movie and everything feels used or people have been there and done that and it’s not like everything’s new.  So it’s like, it feels like the real world, you know.  The real world’s full of bad painting and, you know, and dust and stuff and I think that’s particular good for these guys because Muppet Theater when you find it, you saw this morning, it’s kind of been neglected and it’s a nice, sad, idea but nothing’s happened here for a long time. And I think that’s really kind of sad for me, it’s sad the people kind of see that.  But with that now, of course, it the optimism of doing the show again.  They’re gonna fix it up and make it all good again and I love that about it too.

Stay tuned for my interview with production/set designer STEVE SAKLAD!

For More Muppets info visit:

Their Official Website
Follow the Muppets @MuppetsStudio on Twitter
Like the Muppets on Facebook {Don’t forget they are trying to get a Bazzilion Likes!}
Or Follow The Muppets on YouTube

***Disclosure: I was not compensated or paid in any way for this post. I am sharing this for the benefit of my readers. I am also covering the Muppets for Disney. All opinions are my own.***