Muppets Interview with Director James Bobin
Being able to meet with James Bobin, writer and director, of Muppets Most Wanted was an unforgettable experience! Bobin was such a delightful and amazing person to interview. I have to say, every person I was able to interview was like this for me. Such a joy!
Bobin had such a beaming smile on his face when he spoke of the Muppets. He said the Muppets, like little Kermit, were such a joy for him to work with and they were like his heroes since he grew up watching them as a kid. I loved how he said it was very hard for him to get cross with them ’cause they’re so loved, it’s like working with Luke Skywalker, it’s crazy. I can definitely see why after my Muppets interview.
I asked Bobin if he took any inspiration from Flight of the Conchords when writing the Muppets and if he thought adult humor and childrens’ humor might be closer than we think. He had an excellent response:
Adult humor and child humor, yeah they are kind of different but they can be the same. I mean, we’re all big kids, really, I am, I know for sure. And so often I find things like, things falling over, I will find that funny forever. Like Tom and Jerry makes me laugh as much as my kids might laugh. And that’s always gonna be the way. But sometimes it’s useful to have a thing that works on two levels, that they like it for some, a reason, and we like it for a different reason.
And often that’s because we’re putting clever words into the mouths of puppets and so they see a–– a blue thing with a funny nose and white hair, which is funny, but we hear them say smart words. And I love it, that idea works for both adults and children. Uh, and sorry, the first part I’ve forgotten now.
From Conchord’s, yeah I think whenever you make anything you can’t help but put an imprint of yourself in it to a degree. So when you do like a show like Conchords and move into Muppets you can’t help but bring a bit of–– of that, your personality, with you.
Especially when you have half of the Conchords working on the movie with you, of course, because Brett [McKenzie] writes the songs and so Brett and I worked together for a good, you know, several years now. And so be it set out on the streets of New York and Conchords or set on the streets of London and Muppets, there’s some of it’s Bert in many ways. And then, you know, in many ways the Conchords Muppets aren’t that different, they’re both quite innocent.
I don’t know but Conchords is the quite accessible innocent, sure they’re very kind of like-able innocent people. And the Muppets are also very innocent, like-able people. So it didn’t feel like a huge leap going from Conchord’s to Muppets.
Bobin said 95 percent of the film was shot in London. They shot on the stages at Pinewood which is just about a half an hour outside London, and then even places like Berlin and Madrid are also shot in or around London. He said,”Going to Berlin with the entire Muppet cast and crew would’ve been a very expensive endeavor in doing it. And London is, as you know, a very ancient historical city, and therefore has lots of different architectural styles in it.”
Bobin said one of his favorite scenes is Miss Piggy’s song about Constantine and Kermit, “Something’s So Right” song, with Celine Dion. Bobin on this scene:
Because I really felt that that’s gonna, ’cause it’s like, Piggy’s wanted this thing all of her life, and she’s finally got it and it’s not gonna feel the way she thought it would felt, uh, feel, and I think that’s a very common thing to all of us. That’s something we’ve all experienced. And so to sing about that and say, “Why aren’t I feeling the way I would,” and “why aren’t I happy that I am about getting married” is really sweet I think.
But also at the same time it’s kind of funny ’cause it’s got Celine Dion in it. It’s just really fun. So all my favorite scenes tend to have an element of humor to them and emotion, they’re both kinda working at the same time, and that’s pretty much my aim for the whole movie. You should feel emotionally engaged but laugh, be laughing at the same time. That’s a very difficult part of the trip. But that sequence I feel works very successfully like that.
Since the first movie was more of a comeback movie, what was he hoping to accomplish with this movie? Bobin replied:
So for me it feels like this one could really show you what the Muppets do, like what they do in a movie, what the roles they can play, how they can interact with each other, mainly just by being brilliant on stage and doing acting funny things in the show, but also outside of that, just being, you know, any, at any kind of movie genre situation they’re gonna be interesting and funny. And I think that’s a really, it’s a good showcase for the Muppets and what they can do.
When asked if there is a new Muppets movie in progress he said sadly there is not but he said he would love to do more because it is a lot of fun. I loved how you could tell how much Bobin loves his job. He said it’s like his dream. It’s good to know he is living his dream and making amazing Muppet moves to go along with it.
Did you know the Muppet show back in the ’70’s was filmed in London?
I’m sure you already went to the movie this past weekend but if for someone crazy reason you didn’t, check out the trailer below: