With the release of Muppets Most Wanted, some people would like to know who should take the credit to pull all this together. Now granite, a strong group of team players were orchestrated together in this cleverly written motion picture. James Bobin (director) would be one of the individuals to look to, when it comes to crafting the Muppets Most Wanted.
Who Is Jame Bobin
This guy from the other side of the pond is one of the best at what he does. Even if you take away his two Muppet movies, writer/director James Bobin is a guy you want to talk to. He helped shape Sacha Baron Cohen’s legendary Da Ali G Show and the HBO show Flight of the Conchords, and is signed to the next Disney Alice in Wonderland film, Alice Through the Looking Glass.
Lets Talk Muppets
James Bobin took a moment to sit down in front of all 25 of us bloggers, interested to see what he has to say about the Muppets.
QUESTION : So who is the most difficult Muppet to work with?
JAMES BOBIN : I’ll let you guess who the most difficult Muppet is who I work with. None of them, they’re all a total joy to work with. I’m a huge fan, I grew up watching the Muppets as a kid, so working with them for me is like working with my heroes, so I can’t be anymore happier.
QUESTION: So while directing did you find it awkward when you’re only talking to the Muppets or talking to the Muppeteers?
JAMES BOBIN : Not really, no ’cause, remember when I’m directing the stages are raised up like four foot up in the air, and usually it’s they cut a hole in the ground in front of me and which stands say 20 or 30 puppeteers and all the characters are held up. Uh, and in-between takes they had to come down, because the puppets often are very heavy, like Kermit is a sock so he’s easy to steer. But Piggy is like a, you know, she’s a pretty heavy puppet, so Eric’s arm just kind wears out through time. So he can’t hold her up the entire time. So in-between takes they come down, and at that point I’d come in and say my stuff.
QUESTION: So what is the difference between shooting the first movie and then the second movie?
JAMES BOBIN : Oh, for me obviously it was the slightly, uh, the first movie I’d never worked puppets before, so it was a very big experiential learning curve of how to frame shots, how to make this world feel realistic, that these puppets were alive, breathing people who are interacting with humans and the world’s just, the world we live in, the recognizable world we live in happened to have puppets in it. That idea I love, and that’s a very important part of it.
QUESTION: Were there any scenes that had to be cut for time that you particularly wish you hadn’t had to cut?
JAMES BOBIN: That’s a funny question. There’s going to be a fair amount because on the DVD I remember James Bobin Director Muppets Most Wantedthem saying the other day there’s something like 15 minutes of extra material. But rather than any one scene I think it’s generally just extra longer versions of the scenes that already exist. I can’t think off the top of my head of anything I think I gravely miss, and that’s very a good thing too, isn’t it?
There’s a funny thing that when, you see Constantine has this kind of, now I’m obviously very aware of the idea of guns in the Muppet movie and so when Constantine has a gun it’s a flint lock musket, right, it’s an old kind of pistol.
And there’s this whole thing where upon he shoots, hits one, and sort of goes “poof” and he goes, “Oh it’s a muzzle loader,” and he has to get a barrel and a wadding and push it back in, and I thought that was a really funny idea – he has this ancient pistol. But that was cut, but that–- that joke I always really liked that joke, he had a muzzle loaded old pistol, that he stole off the wall of the Tower of London and it doesn’t work very well. So I thought it’s a funny joke.
QUESTION: Did you approach celebrities to do cameos, or do they come to you and say, “I want to appear in the movie?”
JAMES BOBIN: Generally, we write them in for the specific idea in mind, then we have a person, or a type of person in mind, quite often it’s the actual person who we write in. Like, you know, the Usher is gonna be played by Usher, that’s an easy one. That’s the joke, you know? Sometimes there are roles which are just like “a guy who’s delivering something,” or “a waiter” or something where by it could really be anybody. And then we start finding out just subtly who are Muppet fans, and people who we know, and we hear about who like the Muppets. James said “but really, aren’t we all just kids at heart”? It’s easy to tell just how much James enjoys working with The Muppets, he gets to be a kid again, and that’s always fun.