Production has commenced on the followup to Disney's The Muppets overseas in London. Humans Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ray Liotta are joining Jim Henson's beloved pack of puppet(y) frogs, pigs, bears, chickens and whatevers (or aliens, if we're going by Muppets from Space) on a new wacky adventure - one stuffed full with madcap comedy, sporadic musical numbers and celebrity cameos.
We can now confirm the Muppets sequel is officially titled The Muppets... Again! - following weeks of rumors about that Muppet-style self-aware movie title - and offer both a promotional image and more information about the film's plot (which bears a resemblance to The Great Muppet Caper, as we've been hearing for a while now).
Here is the official synopsis (via the press release)
Disney’s “The Muppets ...Again!” 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].
UPDATE: Check out Gervais with Kermit and Miss Piggy on the Muppets... Again! set (via Fandango):
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Muppets... Again! director James Bobin (returning from the previous film) describes the sequel as a comical nod back to "old-school crime capers of the ’60s," but with Muppets. However, EW is reporting the story involves Kermit's evil doppelganger Constantine attempting "to steal an enormous diamond," indicating the screenplay written by Bobin and Muppets co-writer Nicholas Stoller might fall closer to Great Muppet Caper than they'd like to admit. (Remember the Baseball Diamond from GMC?)
Of course, getting hung up on the similarities between Muppets... Again and Great Muppet Caper is missing the point; namely, Disney is releasing the new wave of Muppet movies with younger audiences in mind, not those who grew up watching older installments. It's a situation similar to The Amazing Spider-Man series: the recipe is familiar, but it's the filling that matters when it comes to the rebooted property's chance of resonating with a new generation (here, that means good old-fashioned irreverent Muppet humor and heart).
Case in point: check out an excerpt from EW's interview with Kermit, where he's asked about playing the role of Constantine in Muppets... Again:
No. We talked about putting me in makeup and having me play both roles, but we decided Constantine needed to be a guy who could do a Russian accent. And, you know, I’m a pretty accomplished actor and all, but besides the Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island films, I’ve only really ever played myself. The great thing is, I have like 3,000 relatives back in the swamp, so it was quite easy to find a frog who could play Constantine.
For more Muppet hilarity of that ilk, check out the full EW interview and then see The Muppets... Again! when it opens in theaters on March 21st, 2014.