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Old school Muppeteers not exactly thrilled with the new Muppets movie

10.21.2011

When I first saw the MUPPETS trailer, I wondered allowed (to no one in particular) whether they were able to get legendary puppeteer Frank Oz back in the fold. Listening to Miss Piggy (his most famous work), it certainly didn't sound like it. As it turns out, Oz declined the opportunity to return for THE MUPPETS and he joins a number of Jim Henson-era puppeteers in expressing displeasure with the upcoming film.

Regarding his choice to stay away from THE MUPPETS, Oz told British newspaper The Metro, "I wasn't happy with the script...I don't think they respected the characters.

To add insult to injury, Steve Whitmire, the only puppeteer to work and voice Kermit since the death of Henson, actually considered taking his name off the final film. Whitmire, and a handful of other original Muppets staff, only relented because they eventually realized, "[Disney] wouldn't care."

At particular issue for some Muppet veterans were jokes, like the one you see in the trailer with Fozzie and his farting shoes, that were harming the integrity of the characters. They also took umbrage with the fact that Kermit, now wealthy and living in a mansion, was resented by his fellow Muppets.

What's particularly interesting is that the Jim Henson Legacy seems to have little to no input on the film. The Executive Director of his legacy, who designed and built the original Miss Piggy, hasn't even seen the film and she admits she's nervous. "I'm hoping the standard of excellence that Jim set is maintained," she said rather diplomatically.

To his credit, actor and co-writer Jason Segel is a huge Muppets fan and would not knowingly go ahead with the project he felt was compromising the integrity of the Muppets. But what will this mean for the film itself? If people familiar with the old school Muppets we know and love aren't happy with the film (including people who worked on it), will we suffer the same fate?

Source: THR

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