IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Constantine Talks 'Muppets Most Wanted'

Monday, 17 March 2014 19:42 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Constantine Talks 'Muppets Most Wanted'

Watch out Kermit … there is a new frog in town and his name is Constantine!

In Muppets Most Wanted, opening in theaters on March 21st, the Muppets’ number one frog is mistaken for the world’s most dangerous frog, his evil counterpart named Constantine. The two amphibians are exactly alike with the exception of Constantine’s signature mole, his evil demeanor and Russian accent, which sounds a lot like a bad Borat impersonation. 

The new film is a sequel to 2011’s The Muppets and was once again directed by James Bobin (Flight of the Conchords), based on a script by Bobin and returning screenwriter Nicolas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall). The movie also features music by Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords), who one an Academy Award for his work on the first movie. 

Muppets Most Wanted follows our group of loveable characters on a grand world tour. However, they soon find themselves involved in a European jewel-heist caper headed by a Kermit the Frog look-alike (Constantine) and his dastardly sidekick Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais). In addition to Kermit, Constantine, and Gervais, the film also features Tina Fey (Admission), and Ty Burell (Mr. Peabody & Sherman), as well as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Sam the Eagle, Rowlf the Dog, Gonzo the Great, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker, The Swedish Chef, Scooter, Walter, Crazy Harry, Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem, and all your favorite Muppet characters. 

I recently had the rare opportunity and absolute pleasure to sit down with Constantine, one on one, reporter to frog, and talk about his work on Muppets Most Wanted. The world’s most dangerous frog (as he likes to refer to himself) discussed his new film, how he got the role, the audition process, his resemblance to Kermit, why he considers himself evil, working with Ricky Gervais, if he is now an official member of the Muppets, becoming a movie star, his favorite film villains, why Animal is really a dog, how Walter annoys him, and revealed that he’d like to “kaboom” Miss Piggy


Here is what Constantine had to say about Muppets Most Wanted:

Constantine: What is this? (Referring to audio recorder)

IAR: This is a recording devise. Constantine it is nice to meet you. 

Constantine: Hello, nice to meet you. What is your name?

I’m Jami. 

Constantine: Jami. (Disappointing noise)

Oh, you don’t like my name?

Constantine: No, is good name. Strong name. 

Thank you. 

Constantine: Starts with a “J” sound. Yes. Jami!

I enjoyed your performance in the film. 

Constantine: Thank you, me too! 

How did you get cast in Muppets Most Wanted? How did they find you for this role?

Constantine: They were looking for evil Russian frog named Constantine and since that is what I am, I am evil Russian frog named Constantine I answered ad. I did have to audition. 

What was the audition process like?

Constantine: I had to do scene from movie and I had to do song. I actually cannot remember what song was it. It was a love song, but I'm trying to remember what it is and I cannot remember. 

Who did you audition for? Was it director James Bobin?  

Constantine: James and Kermit, Yes.

Was that intimidating to meet Kermit because obviously people think you two look alike?

Constantine: I do not see resemblance.

You don't see a resemblance between you and Kermit?

Constantine: No. 

A big plot point in the movie is that you and Kermit are mistaken for each other so your resemblance to him must have helped you get the part. 

Constantine: I guess. I don't know. I don't see it. Neither does Kermit. We do not see a resemblance. But whatever, there are people that are on higher level than me that makes decision. 

Do you consider yourself an evil frog? Were you playing yourself in the movie or were you playing a role? 

Constantine: It is a little bit of both I think because I am evil frog. I am world's most dangerous frog as voted by lots of evil league of people that makes these decisions. Two years running I am world's most dangerous frog. They use this for movie as well, that I am world's most dangerous frog. It is a little bit of life imitating art. No. What?

So the filmmakers were actually inspired by you. They really created this character for you in a sense, correct?

Constantine: Oh, I did not realize this.

That's what it sounds like to me. They were looking for the world's most dangerous frog and you are the world's most dangerous frog, so it was perfect casting!

Constantine: It could be. I just thought it was coincidence. 

I think it is perfect casting. 

Constantine: Me too! 

Did you create a voice for the character you play in the film, or is it more like reality TV where we are seeing you as you truly are?

Constantine: This is me! I am kind of like a Daniel Day Lewis of the Muppets. I'm always in character. So you never know what I really am in real life. I think. I think that it is. But I cannot tell you because then I would be revealing my hand. When you are evil, or whether you are not evil, you have secrets. You have something to hide. 

What is the secret to being evil?

Constantine: Oh, you have to have hands in position. Evil position. You need to close your world off. Don't be open. Kermit is always waving his hands. He's very open. I am closed off.

Now I see the difference between you and Kermit. I can really see it now!

Constantine: I don't smile, I snarl. What else? There are so many things.

Can you talk about working with the film’s director James Bobin and music supervisor Bret McKenzie? Did you have any difficulty working with them? 

Constantine: No.

You don't have any difficulty working with others?

Constantine: It depends who it is. I had wonderful time with Mr. Bobin. He let me be as evil as I wanted to be. He didn't want me to sugarcoat anything. He said, "Be evil, frog!" And so I did.

What was it like working with Ricky Gervais?

Constantine: He was good. I did not realize that he was actor. On day one, first day, I think that he is real number two, an assistant for me and that his name is Dominic. It took long time, probably half of film before I realize he is actor.

So it took half of the production for you to realize that he was an actor playing a role?

Constantine: He's very convincing. 

If you are truly an evil frog, do you plot evil plans?

Constantine: Yes. I do. I am plotting right now. 

What are you plotting?

Constantine: Right now I am plotting my escape from this room in case some authority comes in. Are you an authority? 

I could be. You wouldn't know, would you?

Constantine: No, but you have to tell me. 

Is it the law that I have to tell you if you ask?

Constantine: I think so. 

No I'm not the authority. I have no authority whatsoever. I don't even think I have any authority over this interview at this point. 

Constantine: Well, all right then, continue!

One scene I love in this movie is where you first infiltrate The Muppet Show and Animal sniffs you out. He recognizes that you're a bad frog. 

Constantine: You mean the doggy? He's like a dog. 

Why do you say Animal is a dog? He's not a dog, is he?

Constantine: He look like dog to me!

Well, there's Rowlf the dog, he’s a dog.

Constantine: He's another little dog.

Oh, so there are two dogs? Animal is one dog and Rowlf is another, is that right?

Constantine: There are lots of dogs in Muppets I think. There's that dog, there's the other dog, I'm sure there are other dogs.

Right. They have chickens, bears, dogs, pigs, frogs and lots of other animals. 

Constantine: Yes. I do not know any of their names.

You didn't bother to learn any of the names of the other Muppets?

Constantine: No.

You didn’t think that actually knowing the names of the other characters would help you to infiltrate the Muppets and succeed in your evil plans? 

Constantine: I leave that to my number two. That is job for number two, not for me. I have to be thinking about what next move is. 

Well, Dominic did a good job. He knew all the Muppets’ names and gained their confidence. 

Constantine: Yes. I know one. His name is Walter

What is your opinion of Walter?

Constantine: He's like little boy. He's very nosy, but he has no nose. 

What do you think about him not having a nose?

Constantine: Well I don't have nose either.

But you're a frog so that’s okay. 

Constantine: Yes. But because he is one who foils my plot a little bit. You know? He discovers.

Animal and Fozzie do too. 

Constantine: Doggy and bear, yes they both discover what's going on. 

Who's the hardest Muppet to communicate with? Is it Animal, Beaker or The Swedish Chef?

Constantine: Oh, I was just instantly going to say pig. Because she (Miss Piggy) does not listen to anything I have to say. She has her own agenda. I guess I do too. In some ways we are very much alike. She probably does not know names of other Muppets as well. 

That’s probably true. I’ve heard her in the past call them a bunch of weirdoes. 

Constantine: Yes. I agree with her on this. Maybe I have more in common with pig than I would like to admit. 

In the film, Miss Piggy confuses you for her beloved Kermit. 

Constantine: (Sinister laugh) Yes, she is gullible. Although my imitation of Kermit is so uncanny that it is part of it. 

Did you grow any romantic feelings for Miss Piggy? 

Constantine: I grew … annoyed. As film goes on I grow more and more annoyed. I have no problem with one thing to get rid of her. She was just part of plot. 

What do you mean get rid of her?

Constantine: Kaboom!

No kaboom! Constantine, we don't want to kaboom Miss Piggy! Bad frog!!!

Constantine: No that was for film. In real life I just keep my distance.

Okay, that’s better. Have you ever considered teaming up with any of the other semi-evil Muppets? There's Uncle Deadly, Sweetums, and Crazy Harry who actually does all the kabooms. Maybe you can start a league of evil Muppets!

Constantine: Mm, this is good idea! I would like to consider this for maybe for sequel. 

Are you an official Muppet now? Are now going to be part of the Muppets going forward into any sequels?

Constantine: I have no idea. I have not been given a card or anything or tattoo or whatever it is that they do and they make you official. Is there something they do? 

I don't know. There might be a membership card or something?

Constantine: I have no idea. I have not received this in mail. I would love to continue to be part. I don't know what I would do. I bring a little bit of edge I suppose. I'm good at making up plans, evil plotting, I can probably do something like this. I can maybe curtail my evil plotting. I have no idea.

Would you consider doing other movies now that you're a big Hollywood star? 

Constantine: Yes. I would like to work with Sandy Bullock. She seems like she is a star on the rise. I would like to work with Wes Anderson. I believe I could do something with him in his movies. 

He's a very quirky director. 

Constantine: Yes. 

You like to be in one of those films?

Constantine: Sure. Why not? Wouldn't you?

Yeah, absolutely! 

Constantine: That would be great. 

I think that would be fantastic.

Constantine: I like Matthew McConaughey (almost unpronounceable).

Can you say that again?

Constantine: What? Matthew McConaughey. That is his name?

I think it is. I think you pronounced that correctly. 

Constantine: Yes I did. You know him? 

I don’t know him personally but I have met him before. 

Constantine: You have?

Yes, recently at the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Constantine: Does he want to make film? 

I can't speak for him. I’m not his management. 

Constantine: You have email?

I don't have his email, but I'm sure someone at Disney can hook you up. 

Constantine: Maybe we'll try to figure this out. 

Finally, you are such a great villain to the Muppets in Muppets Most Wanted. Do you have other favorite film villains that you idolize or took some inspiration from for this movie? 

Constantine: Film villains? I enjoy film. I enjoy films of Sylvester Stallone. My favorite film is Godfather Part III

The Godfather: Part III? Not one or two? That is a very unusual choice. 

Constantine: I think it's the strongest of the series. “Once I get out I got to go back.” Isn't that what he say? 

I think it’s, “Just when I thought I was out... they pull me back in.”

Constantine: I don’t think that is it. Out and back in. Something like that, I don’t know. It change every time I say it. It is very different. I love that film. I think it is underrated. 

It is a classic, and Muppets Most Wanted is a classic too. 

Constantine: Yes. I also like Star Wars: Episode I.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace, you like that movie?

Constantine: Yes, strong entry into franchise. I like the one bad guy. He's got the two sword. 

You mean Darth Maul?

Constantine: Yes. I like him. He is good bad guy.

Well you're a great bad guy. It was a pleasure meeting you Constantine.

Constantine: It was nice meeting you Jami

Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters on March 14th.

To listen to the hilarious audio of our interview with Constantine about Muppets Most Wanted, click on the audio player below. 

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