If you walked out of The Muppets feeling like you were on top of the world, Bret McKenzie was a big reason. The actor/singer/songwriter, best known for his HBO series Flight of the Conchords, was hired by director James Bobin to write many of the brand new songs for characters like Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo and others to sing in the Muppets triumphant return to the screen. And to that aim, McKenzie was a success. He was rewarded for his work with an Oscar-nomination for Best Original Song for “Man or Muppet,” which features Jason Segel’s character Gary and his brother, Walter the Muppet, signing about their true identities. It’s funny, clever, catchy and has a 50/50 shot at gold since only two songs are nominated.
We sat down to talk to McKenzie about the honor, his process integrating songs in the film, the song not being performed at the Oscars, as well as his upcoming role in a tiny film called The Hobbit and more. Watch the video interview after the jump. Read More »
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Ten years ago this week The Fellowship of the Ring was released. Peter Jackson‘s first Tolkien adaption silenced a great many naysayers who said J.R.R. Tolkien‘s novels could never be properly translated to film. It also fostered a mainstream interest in fantasy movies that continues a decade later.
The development of a film based on Tolkien’s original Middle-Earth novel, The Hobbit, was the subject of speculation as soon as Jackson started work on The Lord of the Rings. Actually making the movie was a terrifically complicated process that involved rights deals, the financial solvency of MGM, a long period of development under original director Guillermo del Toro, and the eventual return of Peter Jackson to the director’s chair.
Now the first teaser trailer — a long teaser, at that — has been released for the first of two films based on the novel. Get the first look at footage from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, after the break. Read More »
After a long promotional runup that included a never-ending string of parody trailers, photo shoots and gleeful audio experiments, The Muppets is finally in theaters. Jason Segel‘s loving ode to Jim Henson‘s puppet troupe combines some winking modern showmanship with a whole lot of love for the Muppets and what they have always represented in pop culture. Because the Muppets mean a lot to many of our readers, it is possible that the film has a difficult standard to live up to.
So the question is: did director James Bobin, co-writers Segel and Nicholas Stoller, songwriter Bret McKenzie, co-stars Amy Adams, Jack Black, Chris Cooper and all the Muppet puppeteers manage to craft a modern Muppet vision that jibes with the classic image of the characters? Tell us what you thought in the comments after the jump. As always, spoilers are fully cleared to go in this discussion. Read More »
Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 by Angie Han
For those who came of age any time between the ’50s and the ’90s, the Crayola-colored felt faces of the Muppets hold a certain unshakeable allure. Kermit’s familiar green visage is a face I grew up with, and I still have a knee-jerk tendency to break out in a smile whenever I see him or his pals. While the Muppets have never entirely left the public consciousness, they’re hardly the ubiquitous powerhouse they once were. This year’s The Muppets marks the first real introduction for a whole generation of kids who were born too late to remember 1999’s Muppets in Space, let alone 1979’s The Muppet Movie.
So if The Muppets coasts just a tiny bit on the goodwill that people like me still reserve for them, I’m pleased to say it’s still a solid enough film to appeal to the uninitiated while also pleasing old(er) fogies who recall them fondly from past decades. Which, not coincidentally, is also the characters’ goal within the storyline itself.
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Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 by Angie Han
Here’s a bit of sweet to savor until The Muppets comes out. A new video has dropped of Kermit singing the opening tune from the film with its composer, Bret McKenzie. We’ve already been treated to glimpse of the actual sequence as it’s seen in the movie, in a clip that was posted earlier this month; while you won’t see more sweet moves by Jason Segel, Amy Adams, or Walter in this video, you will get to hear the rest of the song. Spoiler alert: It’s adorable! Watch it after the jump.
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At this point what more is there to say about yet another dwarf reveal from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey? (Other than, perhaps, “uh, where’s Thorin?”) Here is the latest image dispatch from Peter Jackson‘s version of Middle-Earth, featuring Ken Stott as Balin (on the left) and Graham McTavish as Dwalin.
These two guys are peers, more or less, for Thorin, the dwarf who assembles the company that travels from the Shire to the Misty Mountain. We’ll likely see Thorin next week, and hopefully a couple of the new human character, too. In the meantime, see the full new image below. Read More »
Two successful female writers will take on new roles as they collaborate on an indie romantic comedy. The film is called Austenland and it’ll be directed by Jerusha Hess, who co-wrote Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre and Gentlemen Broncos with her husband Jared Hess, and produced by Stephenie Meyer, writer of the Twilight novels. Though Meyer is credited as a producer on those ultra-successful movies, this will be her first producing gig on something she didn’t conceive.
Austenland focuses on a young woman obsessed with Colin Firth’s character, Mr. Darcy, in the BBC production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Starring Keri Russell, JJ Field, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, Jane Seymour, Rupert Vansittart and James Callis, it humorously explores how that idealism completely ruins her love life. Shooting begins this week. Read more after the jump. Read More »
Last week we told you that Bret McKenzie, of Flight of the Conchords, was possibly joining the cast of The Hobbit. At the time it seemed likely that he would be reprising his role from The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King, a super-minor elf. The fact that he had a role in either film came as a surprise to many, but given that he had a grand total of a few onscreen seconds in the entire saga, he’s quite easy to miss.
But the casting report was only half right: he won’t be reprising his role as the elf Figwit. Bret McKenzie will play a totally different elf, instead. Read More »
The Hobbit is in full swing, at long last. Since the shoot began there hasn’t been a lot of big news about the production; Peter Jackson is just trying to get the movie made while preserving some mystery. Measures are being taken, for instance, to ensure that the photos that leak out are pretty useless. Ian McKellan has talked about getting back into character, but in general the updates are very minor.
But this is a minor update that is pretty great: Peter Jackson is reportedly working to bring Bret McKenzie (Flight of the Conchords) back to play a character seen for only a few seconds in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Return of the King. Read More »