Everybody should meet a Muppet. I believe that entirely. Everybody. In fact, I believe that so much, I’ve made it both the title and the thesis of my big, exclusive set report from the shoot of Muppets Most Wanted that you’ll be able to read in March’s issue of Bleeding Cool magazine.
The first Muppet I met was the best Muppet of all: Kermit the Frog. My hero. The first time we met was back during the junket for The Muppets. It’s a meeting that’s become pretty notorious, and I even later got to speak about it, openly and emotionally, on BBC Radio 4.
I had been nervous about meeting Kermit. For one thing, we’re often told we shouldn’t meet our idols. For another, there’s that old adage about peeking behind the curtain. Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist. I had to meet him, chat with him – and, as it happens, kiss him.
And I wasn’t disappointed at all. It’s hard to explain but… something impossible happened that day. Though I’d always rationally thought it impossible, I actually met Kermit the Frog.
I didn’t act out meeting him. I didn’t play along in some scenario where I could later say I met him but didn’t really feel that I had. I actually met him. Nothing felt like fakery or trickery, everything felt real. I’m not sure how, but I know it was probably magic.
And then, of course, the second best day of my life was when I visited him during the shoot of Muppets Most Wanted. That’s when I also got to meet Walter, a young Muppet very much after my own heart, and Constantine, Kermit’s evil doppelgänger.
I was stood next to Walter during a take. Neither of us should have been making a sound but spotting the Kermit cover on my cellphone, Walter leaned in, pointed to the design and whispered approvingly, “Nice!”
“And I like your watch,” I said. It was the one you would have seen him wearing in the first movie. “It’s cool, isn’t it?,” he said, and confided, “They let me keep it.”
Now, I got pretty seriously ill on set that day. I had a fainting spell and ended up in the med-bay. Turns out that something was actually up with me and (perhaps thankfully?) it wasn’t just Muppet induced excitement.
But when I eventually got home that night and was convalescing, I went back to my audio recordings. I wanted to play back my interview with Kermit. I was keen to listen back myself, but I also wanted to share it with Mrs. C.
I found the recording okay, but there was something odd about the audio. “That’s curious,” I said to Mrs. C, “He seems so quiet. Sort of… far away.”
I got in touch with another of the journalists who’d been around and also had his smart phone armed and recording at that moment… but his recording was odd, quiet, and distant too.
“That’s strange he said… because I could swear we were both holding our phones right up to Kermit’s mouth…”
Muppets Most Wanted is released in the US on March 21st and March 28th in the UK. Stay tuned for a lot more from my set visit in the meantime.