Muppets Most Wanted may be dishing out an extra side of corn but there’s nothing like reuniting with old friends in this warm piece of nostalgia. Gervais joins the gang to play Dominic Badguy (“pronounced ‘Badgee’ – it’s French”), who teams up with Muppet newcomer, the ‘evil frog’ Constantine aka ‘Number One International Criminal’ (and Kermit’s doppelgänger), as his second-in-command. Their mission is to steal the Crown Jewels in London and so they hatch a plan to kidnap Kermit during the European Muppet Tour.
The film riffs on the comedy caper movies of the ’60s with James Bobin (Flight of the Concords) returning to the director’s chair. This time around he also co-wrote the movie with Nicholas Stoller (The Five Year Engagement, The Muppets). Gervais is the mastermind/star of the original British version of The Office, and has earned worldwide stardom thanks to Extras, hosting the Golden Globes; Cemetery Junction, The Invention of Lying and more recently, the television show An Idiot Abroad 3: The Short Way Round.
Screen Rant had the opportunity to sits down with Gervais, who brags about receiving a ‘Hottie of the Week’ award and his blossoming friendship with his new mate, Constantine.
Ricky, you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career here.
Ricky Gervais: Yep.
It’s all-downhill from now right?
Ricky Gervais: Yep It’s been a hell of a week because not only am I in the Muppet movie, which is obviously the pinnacle of anyone’s career, I am E Channel’s hottie of the week as well.
Constantine: I was up for that.
Hottie in what aspect? Just all over?
Ricky Gervais: Yeah, just because I’m a charming specimen of mankind. It’s been a long time coming, but yeah, you’re right it’s downhill from here.
It’s well deserved.
Constantine: Enjoy the ride.
Ricky Gervais: Thank you.
Constantine: Down the hill.
Constantine, I have a question for you.
Constantine: And I have an answer.
This is this your movie debut?
I heard there were 3,000 frogs back in the swamp trying to get this role..
Ricky Gervais: Well, you’ve got 3,000 in your own family haven’t you?
Constantine: Yes, a lot of brother and sister.
Were you nervous when you auditioned in front of Kermit?
So no nerves at all?
Constantine: I think Kermit the Frog, he had something he saw in me. Some qualities in me that he did not see in other frog.
Ricky Gervais: I’ll tell you why he got the role. The role demanded an evil Russian frog called Constantine and he is an evil Russian frog called Constantine, and so he’s perfect for that role.
Constantine: It’s almost like role was written for me.
Ricky Gervais: Yes, yeah, yeah.
Since production has wrapped because I know you got very close. Do you two still hang out? Do you talk showbiz or do you wash each other’s hair?
Constantine: Well I have no hair.
Ricky Gervais: He has no hair.
Constantine: And I do not want to wash his hair. We are friends.
Ricky Gervais: We are friends but I do think of you don’t I?
Constantine: Yes you do.
Ricky Gervais: I sometimes think where’s Constantine?
Constantine: You sometimes ask, you say where is frog?
Ricky Gervais: And he’s in a box.
Constantine: Yes, I’m in a box evilly plotting!
You both play baddies in this film. How revelating was it to play a bad character?
Ricky Gervais: Well, it was a stretch for me because in real life I’m a smart nice guy.
There’s nothing evil about you Ricky.
Ricky Gervais: No. Where as you (Constantine) have got a little edge don’t you?
Constantine: I have big edge.
Ricky Gervais: Yeah, you’ve got a huge edge. A huge edge.
Constantine: That is right. I have an enormous edge.
Ricky Gervais: This is why we cut the frame to there isn’t it?
Constantine: That’s right. But it was not stretch for me. I just kind of said what came out of my brain.
Ricky Gervais: (Laughs) And you’ve got a tiny brain! Being a frog, there’s not a lot of choice up there anyway.
Did you learn anything from Constantine to help you acting ability?
Ricky Gervais: I think everyone has the ability to be loved. He’s an evil frog. He’s rude. He’s obnoxious. He eats flies. He sits around in pond water, and yet, I’ve come to respect and like him as a fellow….not just as a fellow actor, a fellow animal on this planet.
Ricky Gervais: I think its respect all life.
Constantine: And perhaps one day, I will feel the same for you.
Ricky Gervais: (Laughs) Yeah, that’s what I’m hoping.
Constantine: That’s what we’re going for. We’ll see.
A match made in heaven, so are we going to see a sequel?
Constantine: A spinoff.
Ricky Gervais: Yeah, we could do a spinoff couldn’t we? Sequels are always the best, aren’t they?
Constantine: I think so.
More Muppets Fun: Tina Fey & Ty Burrell Interviews
Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted takes the entire Muppets gang on a global tour, selling out grand theaters in some of Europe’s most exciting destinations, including Berlin, Madrid and London. But mayhem follows the Muppets overseas, as they find themselves unwittingly entangled in an international crime caper headed by Constantine—the World’s Number One Criminal and a dead ringer for Kermit—and his dastardly sidekick Dominic, aka Number Two, portrayed by Ricky Gervais. The film stars Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty prison guard, and Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon. Disney’s “Muppets Most Wanted” is directed by James Bobin and produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. Bobin co-wrote the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller, who is also executive producer with John G. Scotti. Featuring music from Academy Award-winning songwriter Bret McKenzie.
Muppets Most Wanted hits movie theaters on March 21, 2014.