Meeting a Muppet is kind of like meeting your childhood hero, but it also begs the question, "What do I say to Kermit the Frog?" Knowing that the puppeteers would be on the set of Muppets Most Wanted during our recent visit, I also wondered if some of the magic would be demystified. But funny enough, it didn't take but seconds to forget the man behind the Muppet. As producer Todd Lieberman said, "you don't even notice the human being there… I think the brain kind of allows for the fantasy to live itself out."
At the end of The Muppets, the gang has reunited and acquired the rights to the Muppet Theater, so the question now is… what next? In this globe-trotting, '60s-style caper, they find themselves entangled in the nefarious activities of the World's Number One Criminal: Constantine, whose resemblance to Kermit the Frog goes skin deep.
"Constantine [is] actually played by a friend of mine from the swamp," Kermit said. "We are the same species of frog and he looks an awful lot like me, only he has a mark right here like a mole [points to his face] and he speaks with a strange sort of Eastern European accent."
Miss Piggy, seemingly oblivious to Kermit's evil alter ego, told us that if in fact there are two Kermits, she could handle a whole dozen of them. "But I don't think they could handle one moi."
Shot in just one month, the Muppets traveled to the United Kingdom for their global adventures filled with espionage, criminal conundrums and a slew of surprises, including a wedding scene shot inside the Tower of London. "I love the stunts where I put on a beautiful white gown and I walk down an aisle," Miss Piggy said.
But, added Kermit, "It may not be what you think."
It wouldn't be a Muppet movie without music, and we were thrilled to learn from Walter that musician Bret McKenzie would be returning as songwriter/music supervisor for the film. "Oh my gosh, the music in this film is incredible," he told us.
Miss Piggy has a number of solo acts, including a song McKenzie wrote specifically for her. "I'm actually most excited about a song that I do in the movie that is an old dance hit… everybody's gonna be dancing…i t's gonna be a whole new crazy all over again."
One of the climactic moments in the film involves Kermit being sent to a Russian gulag. "It's a very dramatic part for me to play, being a prisoner," Kermit said. Chief warden Nadia (Tina Fey) welcomes Kermit to the prison and the two sing a song called "The Big House," which was a favorite of his. Watch it below:
You may remember that "the world's biggest Muppet fan" was known for his mad whistling skills. While Walter did confirm that he does whistle in the sequel, he's got bigger frogs to fry… mainly Constantine, Kermit's devious look-alike. "It's not really a thing," he says. "You know, you don't wanna repeat yourself, right?"
Walter has a dramatic turn in the sequel and even performs some exciting stunts. "I make a discovery and I have to rescue Kermit… I jump from a moving train into another train going the opposite direction." Kermit confirms that Walter is finding his Muppet feet in this action-packed sequel.
The author with Walter himself
In closing, Kermit, Miss Piggy and Walter offered three pieces of sage advice:
1. Always have a catch phrase. "Hiya!" - Miss Piggy
2. "Life is like a movie. Write your own ending and keep believing" - Walter
3. "Never go to countries where [you] are an appetizer on the menu" - Kermit the Frog
Here is Part 1 of our Muppets Most Wanted set visit.
Muppets Most Wanted debuts in theaters March 21, 2014. Get tickets here.