The Muppets took to the green carpet for the world premiere of “The Muppets,” held at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre on Nov. 12. They were joined by director James Bobin, other key filmmakers, and the movie’s stars.
The premiere also attracted a list of A-list celebrities who brought their families to see the Muppets’ return to the big screen. Not to mention thousands of fans who lined the streets to see the celebrities and celebrate lighting the lights at the El Cap.
The Muppets were chauffeured to their movie’s premiere in Chrysler vehicles (a corporate sponsor). First to appear in a low-key arrival were Kermit the Frog, Walter, Rowlf, Fozzie Bear, and Gonzo. Their vehicle as escorted by Sweetums, who appeared to be present in a “bodyguard” role.
Miss Piggy arrived solo to the event, hogging the spotlight in a silver convertible that matched her Marilyn Monroe-esque halter dress.
See “The Muppets” world premiere video coverage or photos on “The Muppets” green carpet.
Hollywood stars come out to meet the Muppets
The human stars of the film were also on hand, although not as literally as the Muppets, to walk the green carpet. Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper. They were joined by actors who enjoy big parts and celebrity cameos in the film, such as Rashida Jones (“Parks and Recreation”), Mickey Rooney (with his son Michael Rooney, who choreographed the movie), Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”), Rico Rodriguez (“Modern Family”) and Kristen Schaal (“The Daily Show”).
Also attending the movie premiere was Nicholas Stoller, who co wrote the screenplay with Segel, music supervisor Brett McKenzie, OK Go, and film producers Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman.
As much attention as Bobin, Segel and Adams attracted, as well as the “Muppets” filmmakers and the stars who have celebrity cameos, it was the Muppets who – as is only fitting – stole the show. Joining the green carpet for a little Q & A was Kermit the Frog, joined by Miss Piggy and Walter.
Kermit explained why they were so thrilled to be at the premiere:
“The movie is called ‘The Muppets’ and we are them. That makes it pretty exciting.’
Walter agreed, “That’s why it’s called ‘The Muppets.”
Miss Piggy was her usual gracious self:
“I am so happy to be here and I’m so happy to bring my glamour to this festive occasion. I mean, Hollywood hasn’t really been the same until today, this very day.”
Jason Segel and James Bobin talk “The Muppets”
On the green carpet Jason Segel, who is also one of the film’s executive producers, referred to the premiere as “a crazy day.” He did his best to channel his inner Muppet in mugging for the cameras, and talked about his interest in the film.
“The Muppets were my first big comic influence. It occurred to me the last movie was 12 years ago,” Segel said. “So there’s a whole generation of kids who’ve grown up without a Muppet movie, and that just seemed wrong to me.”
About the finished movie, Segel said:
“It’s everything I hoped it would be, and I walked away with a greater appreciation for the puppeteers than you could possibly imagine. These guys are so wildly talented. Part of their job is to be as invisible. At the end of the day, you’re not supposed to think of the puppeteer. They’re the strength behind this whole movie.”
In his green-carpet interview, director James Bobin reflected on being asked to direct the movie. He received an email that asked whether he liked the Muppets. Bobin said his initial response was “Who doesn’t love the Muppets?”
Bobin then said that directing the movie
“…was a thing that felt natural to me because I’ve always loved them, since I was kid, since I was five years old back in England watching them on TV. I did a show called ‘Flight of the Conchords’ which is a very musical comedy thing. The Muppets are very musical comedy. So it felt very natural to me. I was thrilled.”
And in the end, now that the movie is completed?
“The Muppets are all about big jokes, ‘fourth wall’ breaking when they talk about the movie, and a lot physical stuff,” said Bobin. “That stuff is just really fun and it’s not kind of cynical. It’s very honest and gentle and real. I’m happy to bring that back.”
Many of those who attended the premiere spoke of growing up with the Muppets and their humor, praising Segel, Stoller and Bobin for honoring Jim Henson’s legacy and respecting the work of the Muppets and their puppeteers.
Movie’s stars talk about Muppet humor
Amy Adams, who plays Mary in the film, spoke about the uniqueness of the Muppets:
“You know what, I think if you could put a finger on what makes their humor work, then there’d be a lot more Muppets. But Jim Henson created just this timeless brand of humor that I think Jason and James did a great job of recreating.”
And Rashida Jones, who plays Veronica, a TV executive, spoke about the opportunity to have a role in “The Muppets as a “career highlight” and described the movie as having
“…a lot of kind of ’tongue-in-cheeky, making fun of itself, awareness-of-the-camera’ thing that Jason Segel and Nick Stoller, who he wrote [the movie] with, and James Bobin who directed it, are really good at. They modernized it. They took it into the new millennium and made it into the kind of comedy that people our age want to see.”
The screening of the film was attended by the Muppets most steadfast critics, Waldorf and Statler, who sat in the balcony.
When Statler said, “This is the best movie the Muppets have ever made,” Waldorf cut him short.
“This isn’t the movie, you old fool. Those are the old curtains,” replied Waldorf.
That led to the one-liner, “Curtains for the Muppets? It’s about time.”
The audience for the world premiere of “The Muppets” might disagree, as might all the fans who head to the theatres out to see the movie when it’s released Nov. 23, 2011.
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