When in doubt, turn to Pixar. That appears to be the new adopted motto by Disney, who only weeks after being revealed to have had a helping hand by the world’s most celebrated studio on Tron, have now turned to Pixar once again to receive input on the new Muppet movie (previously titled The Greatest Muppet of All Time, or possibly, The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made, according to IMDB). More after the break.
The Hollywood Reporter reports the story, but offers no confirmation on who of the “Pixar Brain Trust” (which includes John Lasseter, Brad Bird, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton, among others) attended the consultations. The film has yet to start shooting (or even get officially greenlit, for that matter), so this was likely a way for them to go over the script and see if any changes were necessary.
The change in procedure was spawned by the new regime under Disney Studios chief Rich Ross and head of production Sean Bailey. In response to the Tron discussions, Bailey said, “If you want to get good ideas, why not talk to the Brain Trust?” I’m liking that policy.
Disney is definitely making the right move in involving Pixar in their other properties. They received assistance from the studio on The Princess and the Frog and the upcoming Tangled, and now with Tron and the new Muppet movie, they’ve already gotten feedback on two of their live action projects. If they keep this up, maybe Disney will start being able to produce films on par with Pixar’s, or at least ones more in line with their storytelling sensibilities.
Film is a hugely collaborative process, and it seems Disney is only now realizing how lucky they are to have some of the greatest filmmaking minds available to them. When you operate in your own little bubble, the types of films that result are the Star Wars prequels, The Lovely Bones, or anything M. Night Shyamalan has made in the past five years. Disney looks to be going the other way here, involving as many other talented perspectives into the mix as possible. Good call.
The film will be in the tone of the classic Muppet films like The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, and Muppets Take Manhattan.
Segel will play the lead role, a human named Gary, whose best friend is the puppet bear Walter. Together they go on a journey with Gary’s girlfriend Mary to defeat the evil Tex Richman, a man who doesn’t find the Muppets funny and thinks he can smell oil beneath their studio. There are plenty of celebrity cameos written into the script (including Sean Penn) and Segel apparently got verbal commitments from most of the stars during the writing process.