IAR INTERVIEW: Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy talk 'The Muppets'

Monday, 21 November 2011 16:00 Written by  Jami Philbrick
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IAR INTERVIEW: Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy talk 'The Muppets'

Since becoming managing editor of IAR in March, I have had the immense pleasure of interviewing legendary film directors like Francis Ford Coppola, Oscar winning actors like Nicolas Cage, iconic public figures like Bobby Kennedy Jr., and even classic fictional characters like Tigger and Winnie the Pooh. But nothing can compare to the absolute childlike excitement I had when I got to interview Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy about their new film The Muppets, which will be in theaters on November 23rd.

In The Muppets, Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Animal, Scooter, Rowlf, Beaker, the Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, and the whole gang make their triumphant return to the silver screen for the first time in over twelve years. In the film, Gary (Jason Segel) and his brother, a Muppet named Walter travel to California with Gary’s girlfriend Mary (Amy Adams) and discover a plot by an evil oil tycoon (Chris Cooper) to destroy the Muppet Theater and dig for oil buried underneath. Gary, Mary and Walter locate Kermit to tell him the devastating news about the theater and that in order to save it, they must come up with $10 million dollars. Kermit realizes that the only way to save the theater is to put on “The Greatest Muppet Telethon Ever” and with the help of his new friends, sets out to reunite the Muppets, who've all gone their separate ways over the years.

I recently had a childhood dream come true when I was given the opportunity to sit down with Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy to discuss their new film, The Muppets. We were joined by the latest addition to the Muppet family, Walter, as well as a few other members of the press. While I have included audio of the interview in its entirety below, the following is a summary of my own conversation with Mr. the Frog and the ravishing Miss Piggy. The two iconic characters talked about their new film, their impressive dramatic performances, early Oscar buzz, Kermit’s most emotional scene, his friendship with Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy’s martial arts training, her duet with Amy Adams, how she avoids the paparazzi, where the Muppets will be spending Thanksgiving, and of course … Kermit and Piggy’s very special relationship.

Here is what the frog and the pig had to say:

IAR: To begin with, you both give brilliant performances in the new film, where did you receive your training and learn to act? Did either of you use an acting coach for this movie and what particular method do you find most useful to you as a serious thespian?

Kermit the Frog: Well I’ll let Piggy answer for herself because I understand that she has had a lot of formal acting training. But for me it came very naturally. It was sort of the role I was born to play: Kermit the Frog. Although in this particular film I feel that I was a bit more dramatic than I was in past films. Because the story in the film is that we’ve been separated for years and I’m pretty sad. So in being sad, I had to come up with sixteen different ways to play sad.

Miss Piggy: It was awful having to watch him be so sad all the time. It broke my heart.

Miss Piggy, was it difficult for you to watch Kermit act so sad?

Piggy: Yes.

Kermit: It’s not easy for a glass half full kind of guy like me.

Piggy: For moi, it is all about being in the moment. So that is what I did in this movie. I didn’t read the script and I just lived the moment. So everything you see of mine is adlibbing.

There has actually been some early Oscar buzz surrounding your performance in the film, Miss Piggy are you ready to launch a big Oscar campaign this year?

Piggy: Yes, yes.

Kermit: No that was Oscar the Grouch.

Piggy: Yes, I guess my campaign is actually working. Yes, thank you for asking moi about it. The trick is first we all have to work very hard to get pigs recognized as …

Kermit: … nominatable.

Piggy: Yes, nominatable, is that a word?

Kermit: No that’s not a word. Eligible is the word you’re looking for. You got to be eligible.

Piggy: Yes, we need pigs to be eligible for nomination.

I wasn’t aware that pigs aren’t eligible for Academy Awards.

Piggy: Obviously they haven’t been, otherwise moi would have sixteen Oscars on her mantel.

Kermit: Sixteen Oscars for eight films.

Kermit, I loved the scene in the film where you sang “Pictures In My Head,” was that a very emotional moment for you?

Kermit: Oh yeah, yeah. I mean as I said it’s just really part of the story of our movie because we actually are together quite often, but I was able to draw on the times when I’m not with the gang, you know? And I would just think about how much I care about Fozzie, and Gonzo, and Piggy, and everybody. So I am a bit of a method actor.

Miss Piggy, you do a duet in the film with Amy Adams called “Me Party,” did you enjoy singing with Amy?

Piggy: Oh well, it wasn’t so much a duet but more of a solo.

Are you saying that the song was actually intended as a solo for you but that Amy just started singing along instead?

Piggy: Yes. I don’t know what she’s doing. I have no idea. But you’ll notice that moi is never shot at the same time as Amy. We were shot separately. I don’t know? They’re like little commercials that Amy is doing during my solo.

Kermit, one of the things I enjoyed the most about the new movie is how it focused on your friendship with your “bestie” Fozzie Bear. Could you talk about your relationship with him and how it is depicted in the film?

Kermit: That’s true. Well it is depicted in the film much like it is in real life. Although I think in the film we sort of had this pretence that there had been a big problem between us, which actually is not true in real life. But Fozzie has been my friend for a long, long time. You know maybe thirty-five years and we get along on a great level. Fozzie is a little insecure sometimes. He likes to try to be the ultimate comedian but frankly sometimes he is not necessarily funny. But I try to support him in everything he does. I think that is what friends are for.

Miss Piggy, we get to see you use your martial arts skills in the film but only briefly, are you still a black belt and how often do you practice your fighting moves?

Piggy: Yes I did all my own stunts in the movie. I trained at and continue to be seen frequently at Master Chang’s Karate Dojo and Chinese restaurant.

Kermit: Yeah, I thought I ordered from there.

Piggy: I have to be careful there though because sometimes they want to make me a part of the menu.

Kermit: Sure, moo-shoo pork. Yes, I have that problem I’m afraid in France. So I have to be careful, never can be too careful.

Kermit, you are definitely the leader of the Muppets, so is there a lot of pressure that comes with that position and does it ever get to you?

Kermit: It has its ups and downs. It has its good days and its bad days. For instance, we decided to do this movie and just the livestock permits along took me months, you know? Moving bears and pigs and chickens across state’s lines in a nightmare. The pressure gets tough but Piggy will tell you that I usually just go off into a corner and sing in “It’s Not Easy Being Green,” and then I feel better.

Miss Piggy, is Kermit ever moody or difficult to deal with at home?

Piggy: Oh no, no, no. He listens very well!!!

Kermit: I’m highly compliant and pliable.

Do you ever worry about TMZ and those types of gossip shows finding out about your relationship with Kermit?

Piggy: No, no I’m not worried about that at all. I call ahead and let them know where I’m going.

Kermit: She does, she does that. It causes me indigestion.

Finally, will the Swedish Chef be cooking for the Muppets for Thanksgiving?

Kermit: Oh I hope not! I think we’re all going to go to Amy Adams house.

Piggy: But she doesn’t know about it yet.

To listen to our interview with Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and Walter in its entirety, please click on the audio player below.

To watch our exclusive interview with co-writer Nick Stoller about The Muppets, please click here

The Muppets domination begins in theaters on November 23rd.

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