The Muppets are going global in their latest movie, Muppets Most Wanted, out Friday. The floppy, furry crew goes on a Euro tour, not suspecting their manager named Badguy (pronounced Badgie) is a crook. Badguy ( Ricky Gervais) helps get the head of the gang — Kermit the Frog — sent to the Gulag and summarily replaced with his evil doppelganger, Constantine, for a series of heists.
Luckily, all ends well for Kermit, who makes friends with his prison mates (Ray Liotta, Danny Trejo) and guard (Tina Fey) and manages to reunite with his friends and lover, Miss Piggy. The little guy and his sidekick puppeteer Steve Whitmire recently stopped by the Mandarin Oriental Miami Hotel.
You and Constantine looked a lot alike, though he had a big, black mole on his face. You didn’t play both roles, did you?
People think we are one and the same, but that’s not actually true. There’s me, then there’s Constantine. Totally separate. Look closely. His collar is a little stubbier, he has a mole, then there’s that strange accent. He’s actually a cousin of mine. In real life, he’s a super nice guy. He’s over doing press over in the Eastern Bloc. I do it on this side of the world. He had a tougher job, more makeup.
You and the Muppets traveled all over the world. Was that exciting?
Well, we traveled all over the world on a back lot. That happens a lot in the movies. We did go to London for four months, and I froze! I’m only a frog. It was January, and there was snow, and it got really cold overnight, like below-zero-with-the-windchill stuff. All I had was my Gulag outfit and lots of long underwear.
So you must be happy to be in warm weather.
Miami’s my place. I’m from the swamp, not far away, so it works out well. I’ll go to the Everglades or else my aunts and uncles will never let me live it down. I’m going to avoid the airboats, though. They come right over your head; it’s pretty tough. When I’m not working, I don’t get into the whole Hollywood scene. When you’re from the swamp, you can go home again.
Which celebrity did you enjoy working with most?
Tina Fey is amazing. She does everything — sings, dances. We go back. We did Saturday Night Live together years ago, and she gave me a guest spot on 30 Rock. Danny Trejo is a sweetheart. Nicest guy in the world. Can’t say he can sing and dance, though.
Anyone you didn’t get along with on set?
I have to say Ray Liotta is great, wonderful but very intense. He’s sort of got the air of being a tough guy. There’s a reason he gets those roles in movies like Goodfellas. You get the impression that you don’t want to tick him off, ya know?
In the movie, Constantine almost marries Miss Piggy. So, we have to ask: How’s your love life?
The movie is sort of like real life. I should tell you she does still confuse me with him. I guess she just likes little, cold, green people. I can’t answer for her right now because she’s out shopping for something to wear to the premiere with my credit card.