The Queen of Comedy is back in full force singing and dancing alongside the gang in Disney’s Muppets Most Wanted. Tina Fey, the creator/star of the Emmy award winning series 30 Rock plays Nadya, a feisty Russian prison guard.
When Kermit’s lookalike, the evil Constantine, frames him for atrocious crimes, our favorite green amphibian lands in the Gulag ruled under Nadya’s iron fist. The rest of the Muppets are then left to continue their European tour - oblivious that they have an impostor frog!
Muppets Most Wanted also stars Ricky Gervais as Constantine’s dastardly sidekick Dominic, Ty Burrell as Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon, and a bevy of cool cameos, including Danny Trejo, Celine Dion, Salma Hayek, Sean Combs, and Christoph Waltz.
Fey’s other credits include a nine-year run as head writer/star of SNL, co-hosting the Golden Globes with Amy Poehler, and wrote/starred in 2004’s Mean Girls. She will next appear in Shawn Levy’s This is Where I Leave You, alongside Jane Fonda and Jason Bateman, and later this year, Fey will begin shooting the film adaptation of journalist Kim Baker’s wartime memoir, The Taliban Shuffle.
Screen Rant sat down with the funny girl - who confessed to feeling starstruck when Miss Piggy walked onto the Pinewood Studios set.
Screen Rant: Has making a Muppet movie meant you’ve reached the pinnacle of your career? Can you retire now?
Tina Fey: Yeah, that’s it. I’m out after this.
SR: When you first received that call from Disney, what was your reaction?
Tina Fey: I think I said, yes, before they finished the word Muppets. Like the Mup… YES! I want to do it, yes!
SR: So they hadn’t told you what your role was?
Tina Fey: I think I said yes before even fully reading the script. I was so on board. I loved the movie they did a few years ago. And of course I loved all the original movies and series.
SR: Now, tell us about Nadya. She’s Russian.
Tina Fey: (Puts on Russian accent) She’s Russian. She runs Gulag. She’s very serious. She’s been running a Siberian Gulag for many years. She’s really hard and then Kermit comes in a kind of changes her life.
SR: Let’s talk about working with The Muppets and unveiling the Hollywood magic a bit. In between takes you’re never going to hear a Muppet say: "I’m going to eat something at the craft service table." Did it feel weird in between takes?
Tina Fey: It felt no weirder than anything else. Anytime you make a movie or shoot anyone where someone is meant to be like glamorous, the moment you yell “cut,” any actor takes their shoes off or takes their phone out, eats peanut butter and banana. The moment of “cut” on any movie set, it’s a like, "oh!" So in a way, these guys were more consistent than human actors. They’re like more jolly between takes!
SR: Who was your favorite Muppet? Who did you feel really overwhelmed to meet?
Tina Fey: I should answer this question different every time until I’ve named every Muppet. I mean, they are all such giant stars to me and to get to work this much with Kermit, that’s pretty amazing. I will say, I didn’t get to shoot that much with Miss Piggy, but it was very exciting the days that she was there. You could feel a big star presence on the days that Miss Piggy was there. That was the most kind of starstruck I got.
SR: And you have kids, so I’m sure you’re Miss Popular in your household…
Tina Fey: I hope so, I hope so.
SR: Did you shoot this in Pinewood Studios, in England?
Tina Fey: Yes.
SR: How were your experiences there?
Tina Fey: It’s got such an incredible history with all the James Bond movies and the Carry On movies and even Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, so that was really, really thrilling to work there. It was last March, which was unseasonably cold. It was very cold and rainy for the whole three weeks we were there. But I dragged my family out and we did everything. I had enough days off that we went to every gallery, we went to shows. We really had a great family vacation among the work week.
SR: And lastly, what can audiences expect from this film because it’s got every genre?
Tina Fey: Yeah, it’s a heist movie, it’s a musical, it is a solid comedy like really, really funny, genuinely funny bits and gags. I think the character of Constantine is one of the funniest characters I’ve seen in a comedy in years. Constantine trying to imitate Kermit is one of the funniest gags I’ve seen in like ten years.
SR: As the Queen of Comedy, you know what you’re talking about!
Tina Fey: I pronounce it!
Muppets Most Wanted opens in theaters on March 21.