Things are coming together quicker now, with respect to the followup to Disney’s The Muppets. Just last week, Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) entered talks to become one of the human players in the film, which is indeed confirmed to be a Europe-set comedy caper – with James Bobin back as director, working from a script written by Nicholas Stoller (who did not collaborate with Jason Segel, this time around).
We’re now hearing that filming on Muppets 2 (which is not the official title) will get underway at the beginning of next year. Furthermore, Flight of the Conchords alum and Muppets songwriter/music supervisor Bret McKenzie – who won an Oscar for his tune ‘Man or Muppet’ – is writing new songs for the sequel.
Collider‘s Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub recently spoke with Muppets producer Todd Lieberman, who revealed that the followup will begin shooting at Pinewood Studio in London next January on through to April (with additional filming around the city). Lieberman avoided mentioning any other concrete tidbits of information concerning the project – though, he teased the possibility of a new Muppet and indicated that we can expect additional human casting announcements in the near future.
While there will undoubtedly be numerous celebrity cameos featured in Muppets 2 (in accordance with Muppet movie tradition), we’ve heard the main human players include “a Russian femme fatale and a male lead whose intentions are always in question.” However, neither Gary (Segel) nor his newbie wife Mary (Amy Adams) from the first ‘new-generation’ Muppets flick are going to be returning – at least, not beyond a brief appearance.
It’s encouraging to hear that McKenzie is indeed crafting new toe-tapping tunes for Muppets 2, considering how essential his musical compositions and songs for the previous film were to its overall success – not just in terms of good storytelling, but also striking the right balance of heart and humor. Here’s what McKenzie told us about his approach to the task, when we interviewed him last year:
“First I write the songs so I can sing them using my voice. And then to suit the character… [Piggy] and Kermit’s ranges are very specific so we needed to adjust to that. We also changed the direction of the melody to stay with the narration… It’s a tricky thing to work on. It took a lot of love to make the film. Without Jim Henson and the original team there it’s a lot harder to get the Muppets right.”
The Muppets 2 is currently listed for a December 20th, 2013 release on IMDb, but that date seems unlikely – seeing how Disney already has Saving Mr. Banks scheduled to hit theaters that day. Nonetheless, the Muppets sequel is expected to arrive by late 2013; we’ll let you know when an official date has been announced.