When Miss Piggy graces a gathering with her presence, there is really room for no-one else. So the assembled cast and director of Muppets Most Wanted discovered when they gathered in London to discourse on the famous gang’s latest madcap big screen caper. Though the stars Kermit, Constantine and Ricky Gervais, and director / writer James Bobin had settled in their seats in plenty of time, the capricious porker made her presence felt by arriving late from lunch, after which she proceeded to live up to her legendary reputation for being the centre of attraction.
It was inevitable that those present wanted to know from Gervais exactly what it was like to play alongside Kermit and Miss Piggy, two of the most respected thespians in the business. “I knew from day one that I’d be upstaged”, he said. “But I loved it. I’m just a big kid. One day I just stopped in the middle of shooting and went, I’m in the Muppets!”. The others agreed that making the film was a pleasurable experience. Constantine – Kermit’s doppleganger and arch nemesis in the film – as loveable in real-life as his better known co-stars, particularly enjoyed his role. “I enjoyed being bad guy”, he enthused in his heavy East European accent. “But I would. I was written that way”. Asked whether he feared being type cast he explained that he had already considered this. “Maybe I could change my career. I could always become Hollywood agent”.
On the subject of future directions everyone wanted to know where the Muppet big screen outings could go next – Muppets Most Wanted is their eighth theatrical release (not including several movies and series made for television). “The best genre is sequel”, said Gervais, whilst (perhaps prophetically) Kermit said that “Muppets well rested will be next”. “They’ve done nearly everything”, said Bobin. “But with the Muppets that are no restrictions, you could do any subject. They open doors that no-one else can – like filming this time at the Tower of London which you’re not usually allowed to do. As for the cameos by other well known stars, everyone said yes. We phoned up Celine Dion and she just went sure, absolutely”.
Being such iconic stars in their own right, it was perhaps surprising to discover that the members of the Muppet team present had role models of their own who they looked to for inspiration – though it was perhaps not so surprising to discover who they were. “I find old frogs are the greatest inspiration”, said Kermit. “Though I did watch a lot of Bruce Willis films to prepare for my role”. For Constantine it was “Al Pacino in Godfather III“.
As for Miss Piggy the choice was clear. “Real spirit is flawless beauty”, she expounded. “As a result moi is an inspiration to everyone, including myself. I just have to look in the mirror before I go on set and I’m ready. The boys couldn’t keep their eyes off me. But I usually like to keep quiet and let others talk about me”. Gervais however, disagreed. “Piggy is the biggest diva, and talks about herself all the time”.
On which point it looked like a good time to draw the proceedings to a close. As Kermit and co departed for the next engagement on their whistle stop promotional tour, the rest of us were left to marvel at having been in the presence of Kermit and Miss Piggy, two of the few celebrities who can still lay claim to being true superstars.