Who's who in The Muppets: Muppets, Men, Women (and Everything in Between)
GARY (Jason Segel) is loyal to his brother, Walter--the two do everything together. "Gary is from Smalltown, USA," says Jason Segel (TV's "How I Met Your Mother," "Forgetting Sarah Marshall"), a longtime Muppet fan who created the role with himself in mind. "He's very naive, sweet and innocent, and he's very much in love with his girlfriend, Mary. He's torn between his brother and growing into a new phase of maturation where it's time to be with his girlfriend. He's lived with his brother forever, so that is his big struggle."
The plot thickens when the trio decide to take a vacation. Says Segel, "The movie starts out with me and my brother, Walter, whose wildest fantasy is to meet the Muppets. My goal is to take a vacation to L.A. with my girlfriend, Mary. So we all come to L.A., and while taking a tour of Muppet Studios, which is now decrepit, we find out that they're going to be torn down to drill for oil. So we have to find Kermit, reunite the Muppets--who have disbanded because of professional rivalries--and put on a show to raise enough money to save the studio."
Gary throws himself into the effort, putting his relationship with Mary on the back burner--again. Will he ever be able to grow up and embrace true love?
With his Kermit tee-shirt and watch, WALTER (Walter) is a devoted fan of the Muppets. The lifelong resident of Smalltown, USA, dreams of meeting his heroes one day and feels that--just maybe--he belongs with them. So when brother Gary and his girlfriend, Mary, plan a trip to Los Angeles, Walter joins them with hopes of realizing his dream once and for all.
The role marks the big-screen debut for Walter, and one seemingly written for him. "I play Walter, the world's biggest Muppet fan," says the star, "which is a real coincidence, since I happen to be the world's biggest Muppet fan and my name is Walter. It's like I was made to play this part."
Walter finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time--or is it the right time?--when he overhears evil oil baron Tex Richman discussing a plot to destroy Muppet Studios. With the help of Gary and Mary, it's Walter who sets the plan in motion to reunite the Muppets and save the studio. His pure-hearted enthusiasm for all things Muppets just might save more than the studio too.
Influenced by their affinity for Muppet mayhem, filmmakers introduced a central character who's driven by his lifelong love of the Muppets. According to Jason 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."
The movie opens in Smalltown, USA, home to Walter, brother Gary and his girlfriend, Mary. It's the kind of town where people smile a lot, give apples to teachers and break into song--just because. But the trio leaves the safety of Smalltown behind for a long-awaited trip to Hollywood--and an opportunity to visit Muppet Studios at last.
While there Walter overhears the evil plan of nefarious oil baron Tex Richman and finds himself navigating a long-awaited, never-imagined, can't-believe-it's-really-happening-to-me Muppet reunion. It's not long before the world's biggest Muppet fan is face to face with the heart of the Muppets--Kermit the Frog. "Kermit is my all-time hero," says Walter. "I have his poster in my room, I've seen everything he has ever done and meeting him was the greatest moment of my life."
Says Kermit, "Walter gets so excited being around the Muppets. I've never met anyone like him…except maybe Jason Segel."
Segel can certainly relate to Walter's enthusiasm, but his character, Gary, shows a little too much interest in his brother's Muppet dreams. His girlfriend Mary has her own California dreams, it turns out, and is secretly hoping for a marriage proposal during their vacation. But she is a team player and willingly jumps on board to help reunite the Muppets and save the studio.
They track down Kermit and learn that he's lived a quiet life since the Muppets last performed together. It takes some convincing to get the now low-key frog to agree to the plan, but once Kermit realizes just how much he misses his friends, it's "go" time.
"They embark on a huge journey around the world to find the rest of the Muppets who have gone their separate ways," says Bobin. "The first Muppet they find is Fozzie, who's performing with a Muppet tribute band called the Moopets. The Moopets are cynical characters who are taking advantage of the Muppets' legacy. They sing tacky versions of their songs and sadly, Fozzie is the only real Muppet who joined up with them. He's in a tribute band of his own group. It doesn't take too much persuading to get Fozzie to come along for the ride."
Next up is Gonzo, who has left show business behind in favor of his first career choice: plumbing. He is to plumbing what Tex Richman is to oil--minus the evil-villain part. But Gonzo's plumbing empire is no match for the lure of the stage, and he soon agrees to return to Muppet Studios and his daredevil act.
Perhaps the trickiest piece to the Muppet reunion is Miss Piggy, who's landed a posh gig in France as plus-size editor of Vogue Paris. She's enjoying the big life and doesn't exactly dream of reuniting with the Muppets--unless, of course, it's Kermie who's asking. But it's not all romance between them, says Miss Piggy. "The scene where Kermie begs me to come back to Hollywood with him is the funniest scene in the movie," she says. "I'm hilarious, and the frog isn't half bad either."
Back together at last, the Muppets must put together the best show of their lives--no small feat considering their past efforts. And it's been years since they last performed--rusty doesn't begin to describe their acts. Can they break through the obstacles and create a show of a lifetime? Can they convince a network to broadcast the show? Will they raise enough money to silence Tex Richman once and for all--or will he foil their efforts and destroy the studio despite everything?
"Well, see the movie and find out for yourself!" says Miss Piggy. "Moi can't do everything."
MARY (Amy Adams) is a valued shop teacher in Smalltown, USA--at least if the number of apples on her desk are any indication. She is Gary's longtime girlfriend who often finds herself playing third wheel to Gary and his brother, Walter.
Mary shares Gary and Walter's sweet, innocent disposition, but she's growing weary of sharing her boyfriend with Walter. She can't help but hope for a magical proposal during their Los Angeles vacation, but her plans are derailed when news of Muppet Studios' pending demise spur the trio into expressly non-marriage-proposal action.
Amy Adams ("The Fighter," "Julie & Julia") was called on for the role--in a way that was impossible to miss, says the actress. "Jason and Kermit sent me an invitation to be in Disney's "The Muppets"--they asked if I'd read the script and consider the role of Mary. Kermit was a big part of my decision. I don't like to tell Jason that 'cause he's a little sensitive that I might be partial to Kermit, but I am."
In Disney's "The Muppets," KERMIT THE FROG (Kermit the Frog) lives a quiet, solitary life. It's been a few years since the Muppets last performed together, and Kermit doesn't realize how much he misses his friends until he's tracked down by Walter, Gary and Mary from Smalltown, and convinced to reunite with the rest of the Muppets to save Muppet Studios.
Returning to the role he made famous in six previous Muppet movies, "The Muppet Show" and countless TV specials and Internet videos is Kermit the Frog. "I've played other parts, like Bob Crachit in 'A Muppet Christmas Carol' and Captain Smollett in 'Muppet Treasure Island,' says Kermit, "but I think me is my favorite part."
The role is a bit of a departure for the frog known for his unifying spirit and award-winning songs like "The Rainbow Connection." "The movie is filled with comedy, music and adventure--like all the Muppet movies," says Kermit. "But I play quite a dramatic role. You see a side of me that maybe you haven't seen before--and I'm not just talking about new camera angles. I really stretch to play me. One of my favorite moments is singing a brand-new original song called 'Pictures In My Head.' I walk through the halls of a big mansion, looking at portraits of my Muppet friends and missing those guys. It was very emotional…and I think it will disprove critics who've said, 'The frog can't emote.'"
Kermit, who's always the glue that holds the Muppets together, has a big job in this movie, going head to head with Tex Richman--a guy who's lost his laugh--to save the studio.
TEX RICHMAN (Chris Cooper) is a rich oil baron who's concocted a devious plan to destroy Muppet Studios, presumably to dig for the oil he claims is underneath.
But the truth, says Chris Cooper ("Adaptation.," "The Bourne Identity"), who portrays the villain, is that Tex has a personal vendetta against the Muppets. "He blames the Muppets for a terrible event that happened to him at his 10th birthday party," says Cooper. "He is unable to laugh and has vowed to destroy the Muppets."
But Tex Richman's inability to laugh doesn't stop him from taking part in other Muppet antics. He may be coldhearted and conniving, but this oil magnate has a few secrets up his sleeve that are more fun than fiendish.
MISS PIGGY (Miss Piggy) showcases her diva attitude and big personality in a new made-to-order gig in Disney's "The Muppets." As plus-size editor of Vogue Paris, she shares her sublime fashion sensibilities with readers worldwide…at least until Kermit shows up.
The frog is there, of course, as part of his mission to reunite all the Muppets to save Muppet Studios from Tex Richman. But Miss Piggy can read between the lines: she knows an invitation for love when she sees it. And really--how could she say no to Kermie?
Playing the role of Miss Piggy is none other than Miss Piggy ("Muppets From Space," TV's "The Muppet Show"). "It's the role I was born to play," says the internationally famous star. "Moi plays a high-powered, confident, charismatic, gorgeous, scene-stealing star who saves the day and wins her frog's heart."
Her fans would expect nothing less.
FOZZIE BEAR (Fozzie Bear) lives to make people laugh. So during the Muppets' extended hiatus depicted in Disney's "The Muppets," the stand-up comic bear was determined to keep his act and the spirit of the Muppets alive--even if it meant joining up with a Reno casino tribute band called the Moopets. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the Moopets may be sincere, but they're also a little creepy.
"The Moopets recreate great Muppet moments," says Fozzie Bear ("The Great Muppet Caper," TV's "The Muppet Show"), who is back on the big screen as his namesake, "at least that's what they told me we were doing. Could've fooled me."
Regardless of whom he shares the stage with, Fozzie will try anything to tickle the audience's funny bones: gags, novelties, whoopee cushions, banana peels, custard pies and recycled jokes that earn more winces than laughs--particularly from his in-house hecklers, Statler and Waldorf (aka "those two old guys in the balcony"). In truth Statler and Waldorf just might be the bear's biggest fans. Though they'd never admit it, they may actually be happy to see Fozzie and the Muppets reunited--and they might have to throw the bear a laugh or two this time if it means saving Muppet Studios.
VERONICA (Rashida Jones) is a network executive called on by the Muppets to air their studio-saving telethon. She's not easily swayed, and it'll take a big-name star to seal the deal.
Actress Rashida Jones ("The Social Network," TV's "The Office") portrays the tough-as-nails woman to impress. "I play a hard-nosed, stressed-out TV executive," says Jones, "but I am the only one who gives the Muppets the chance to air their fundraising telethon. I definitely crack the whip, though, because I'm scared of losing my job and I'm scared it's not going to be successful--I yell at Kermit a lot."
It won't be easy, but hopefully, Kermit can charm Veronica like he charms every woman, network exec and diva pig he encounters.
GONZO THE GREAT (The Great Gonzo) has been very busy since the Muppets last performed. In Disney's "The Muppets," Kermit, Walter and the gang find that Gonzo's career is down the drain--literally. "I play a plumbing magnate," says the daredevil, who returns to the role he singlehandedly made famous. "In this movie we see what happens when I pursue plumbing--my original career choice. Actually, show business and plumbing have a lot in common--especially when it comes to clogs and snakes."
It takes some convincing--and an increase in health insurance coverage--to get Gonzo back on stage. Fortunately, Gonzo ("The Muppets Take Manhattan," TV's "The Muppet Show"), a pioneer of all things weird, can't resist the temptation of the wild and wacky stunts he performs to earn the eternal admiration (not to mention shock and awe) of his audience--and one very special chicken named Camilla.
Gonzo's stage act, which includes shooting himself from a cannon, balancing a piano on his nose or eating radial tires to classical music, will likely always end in disaster--but that's the whole point!
ANIMAL (Animal), the ultimate rock 'n' roll survivor, finally addresses a troublesome personality trait and finds himself in an anger management program in Disney's "The Muppets." He's traded in his drums for a flute and is struggling to redefine his identity. As if…
But fear not, fans of the over-the-top, monosyllabic, appetite-with-legs drummer from Dr. Teeth's Electric Mayhem Band. Once reunited with the Muppets, Animal's incessant (yet innocent) pursuit of rock 'n' roll, food and women (not necessarily in that order) returns. "Me like," says Animal ("Muppet Treasure Island," TV's "The Muppet Show"). "Movie good."
STATLER AND WALDORF (Statler and Waldorf) return to the balcony in Disney's "The Muppets" as feisty and curmudgeonly as ever. These two old hecklers let the insults fly--as well as serve an important public service. "We didn't want to be in the movie," explains Statler, "but we felt it was our duty." Adds Waldorf, "Yeah, somebody's got to warn the rest of the audience what they're in for."
This time, the duo takes center stage, sharing the fine print of the Muppet contract with villain Tex Richman. Of course, Statler and Waldorf ("The Muppet Movie," "Great Muppet Caper," TV's "The Muppet Show") don't realize that Tex plans to raze Muppet Studios and drill for oil, which would mean the end of their balcony--and their heckling.
One thing is certain. Statler and Waldorf think everyone should see this movie. "We had to sit through it," says Statler. "The least folks could do is share our pain."
SWEDISH CHEF (Swedish Chef) is behind some rather combustible culinary creations in Disney's "The Muppets," especially after he discovers a long-forgotten refrigerator in the run-down Muppet Studios.
Swedish Chef (TV's "The Muppet Show") is equally at home in the kitchen and on set. Wherever he goes, he's fighting a never-ending battle against food and ingredients; a battle he rarely, if ever, wins. It didn't take much convincing to get him to return to Muppet Studios when production kicked off. "Zikkledeffer gøøbee der smidleflingen," says the Chef. "Vooshkee høøksker mit gingen agloofe majuskee! Børk! Børk! Børk!" (Roughly translated: "It's not every day you get offered to play the role of Chef from Sweden. Besides, I had a soufflé in the oven and an afternoon free, so why not?! Børk! Børk! Børk!")
DR. BUNSEN HONEYDEW AND BEAKER (Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker) are still hard at work in Muppet Labs--where their latest invention shrinks poor Beaker (TV's "The Muppet Show") to pocket size. Undeterred by this diminutive debacle, Beaker fortunately returns to normal size to complete his latest big-screen appearance, all with the help of his mentor and boss, the legendary Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (TV's "The Muppet Show").
"We are scientific consultants on the movie as well as scientific consultants in the movie," says Honeydew. "Very meta, don't you agree?"
"Meep meep meep," adds Beaker, who--in addition to his scientific contributions--was also tapped for an all-Muppet barbershop quartet rendition of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
SAM EAGLE (Sam Eagle) lends his patriotic disdain to Disney's "The Muppets" in a heroic effort to add dignity to the telethon's opening musical number and spirit to the barbershop quartet.
Sam Eagle (TV's "The Muppet Show"), who has always looked askance at the Muppets' supposedly entertaining efforts, explains his reason for being part of Disney's "The Muppets." "I play an American eagle who stands for all that is good and decent in the world, thus standing in sharp contrast to the rest of the weirdos in this movie."
ROWLF THE DOG (Rowlf) isn't exactly tough to track down in Disney's "The Muppets." Kermit and the gang fetch the piano-playing dog from a cozy hammock and convince him to return to the stage. And, it turns out, Rowlf's ("The Muppet Movie," TV's "The Muppet Show") unique canine musical sensibilities prove perfect for the all-Muppet barbershop quartet.
"You could say that this is Rowlf unleashed," says Rowlf, who has been with the Muppets since the early days. "In this movie I really get to do what I like best--play piano, sing, tell jokes and take myself for long walks around the neighborhood."
SCOOTER (Scooter) takes the threat to Muppet Studios in Disney's "The Muppets" to heart. "I'm stage manager of the Muppet Theater," explains Scooter. "I try to help Kermit save the studio, 'cause without a theater and stage, there's really not much for a stage manager to do."
Scooter (TV's "The Muppet Show") gets to play a new role in the movie--as host--when, in a pinch, Kermit calls on Scooter to fill in for him on stage. Unfortunately, the classic advice Scooter gets to calm his nerves--"Pretend that the audience is naked"--doesn't necessarily work for him.
DR. TEETH AND THE ELECTRIC MAYHEM BAND (Dr. Teeth, Floyd Pepper, Janice, Zoot and Animal) rock the house, shake the foundations and do both major and minor structural damage with their funky, heavy rockin' musical sounds. And even though Animal has allegedly sworn off drumming in exchange for a more peaceful existence, Dr. Teeth, Floyd, Janice and Zoot have other ideas in mind for their legendary drummer--all of which lead to a seriously rockin' rendition of "Rainbow Connection."
Dr. Teeth highly recommends Disney's "The Muppets." "If you see only one movie," he says, "this is absotively, possolutely the one to see! And if you see two movies this year, I'd recommend goin' to see this one twice. We need the gig, you dig?"
Janice agrees. "It will, like, help you achieve total inner grooviosity, fer sure." To which saxophonist Zoot adds, "Huh?"
Floyd Pepper was chasing Animal and could not be reached for comment.