I’ve had the chance to bask in the glory of some pretty spectacular stars. Julia Andrews was luminous and lovely. Elton John was thoughtful and sweet. But nothing would prepare me for the butterflies in my stomach when I came face to face with two favorite celebrities of my youth. I met Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. If my twelve-year-old self knew that this was in my future, she would have freaked. And since I’ve never really grown up, I freaked as an adult, but just in a far more mature and well-mannered way. My ear shattering squeals of delight were keep internal.
Actually, I met the Muppets not once but twice…yup, color me stoked. My first face to puppet meeting was on the set of The Muppets movie being filmed in a large soundstage in Los Angeles. The stage was crowded. There were props, sets, lights, crew members, and Muppets lots and lots of Muppets. I had to catch my breath seeing the Muppets in their idle state, resting quietly on tables and boxes. Fozzie who seemed much larger in person was taking a nap in a hammock. It was surreal. And my face hurt. I could not stop grinning, the kind of constant smiling that puts a painful strain on your cheek and mouth muscles.
Seeing the puppeteers in action is impressive thing to witness. They are part contortionists, part experts of improv, part master puppeteers. We witnessed a scene being filmed where a whole array of Muppets surround Kermit, dozens of puppeteers held their wards up high while standing in what I can only describe as a puppeteer pit. The stages are built in such a way that the puppeteer’s bodies are below the sight lines with their arms are raised high holding up their assigned Muppet. The process was fascinating, and gave me a much deeper appreciation of the artistry, patience and pros at work.
Then there are the stars themselves, the iconic and legendary Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog. For my second meeting with the Muppets, we sat down for a round table interview. And an odd thing happens when you talk to Miss Piggy and Kermit. After a couple minutes your brain mysteriously forgets that a puppeteer is part of the picture. When Miss Piggy is looking at you and answering your question, the human fades away. Miss Piggy is there, right in front of you, answering your question. Like I said, my 12-year-old self would be freaking.
Be on the lookout for our interviews with Miss Piggy, Kermit, and the filmmakers. And personally, I can’t wait to meet the Muppets again. But next time it will be on the screen on my local Cineplex after the film opens on November 23rd.
Also check out this super cool Babble Exclusive featurette that you can see right here: