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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 21/03/2014
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(MENAFN -Khaleej Times) the new movie comes three years after disney revived the franchise with ?the muppets? which made 158 million and won a best song oscar for ?man or muppet

While animated wizardry makes basically anything possible for filmmakers these days there is something comforting about the muppets returning in all their floppy fuzzy puppet-ness. Kermit miss piggy and the rest of the gang are back to entertain a new generation of fans — as well as the older ones — in “muppets most wanted” released in the united states on friday. The new movie comes three years after disney revived the franchise with “the muppets” which made 158 million and won a best song oscar for “man or muppet.” The 2011 film was such a hit that disney which in 2004 bought the children’s tv troupe created by jim henson agreed to make a sequel with the same director james bobin. The briton and screenwriter nicholas stoller may be the same but a new human cast this time includes british comic ricky gervais and americans tina fey and ty burrell. “muppets most wanted” opens where the last film left off with kermit and co flushed from their triumphant return to showbusiness. Their hintingly-named manager dominic badguy (gervais) suggests a world tour an idea seized on by all of them — except kermit — little suspecting that badguy is in reality working with constantine an evil kermit double. The film remains faithful to the muppet traditions: plenty of fun lots of musical numbers and featuring celebrity guest stars — in this case celine dion making her film debut as miss piggy’s fairy godmother. Burrell star of award-winning tv series “modern family” plays jean-pierre napoleon a heavily-accented french policeman who teams up with sam the eagle patriotic and protective of the muppets to hunt for constantine. To speak english like a frenchman the actor worked with an accent coach. “she helped me a lot. she was on set with me or every take. basically she had a perfect ear” burrell told afp.

“i found it very challenging for sure” he said but added: “i really enjoyed it because i don’t get to do stuff like that very often. i had a blast doing it.” The other challenge was working with puppets — and legendary ones at that. “it’s a little disconcerting at first to kind of see behind the curtains so to speak then you get used to it very quickly” said burrell adding that he was astonished at how the puppeteers work. “you gain even more admiration for them after working with them. they do basically seven things for every one thing we do as humans. i watched them with real admiration. “i absolutely do consider them as actors... they are doing something that’s more difficult than what we’re doing i think” he said. “any puppeteer is really expressing himself just like any actor would do.” Burrell joked that he ended up treating the muppets like real people. “you do forget that they are muppets. when the scene gets started you just start talking to sam eagle and i even talked to sam eagle in between scenes or in between takes” he said. Burrell acknowledged that he is a life-long muppet fan having watched the original tv “muppet show” as a child. “i remember really distinctly the opening sequence and sitting with my dad and having (old men puppet characters) statler and waldorf make some comments and my dad just laughing hysterically” he said. “those are the kind of memories that stick with you. when your dad or somebody you look up to finds something funny you really take note of that you really pay attention to it. “i was like ‘wow ok that’s what funny is...’ in that way they had a huge influence on me.”

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