Zapped into new life and relevance by a 2011 revival, The Muppets are once again a hot film property. A sequel to the critically and commercially successful Disney film has been in the works for almost a year now, and only recently has the production begun serious casting of its human actors.
Last month, it was confirmed that British comedian and agent provocateur Ricky Gervais had signed on with the The Muppets 2. Now it appears that another recognizable name from the world of comedy has begun talks to fill in the other half of the movie's headline: Tina Fey of Saturday Night Live and 30 Rock fame.
The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Tina Fey is in negotiations to co-star in the upcoming sequel to The Muppets. If Fey finalizes the deal, she will apparently receive top billing beside Ricky Gervais (and the Muppets themselves, of course).
Fey would join a cast already filling up with funny people. In addition to the aforementioned Gervais, Ty Burrell (Modern Family) has been cast as the film's somewhat cryptic antagonist. This would be the second time Fey and Gervais have worked together on a feature film. Fey had a significant secondary role in The Invention of Lying, which Gervais co-wrote and directed.
Details about Fey's eventual role (and the entirety of The Muppets 2's overall plot) remain scant. If the initial casting rumors are correct, Fey will play a Russian prison guard. Though undeniably odd, the possible role jibes with rumors that the sequel will be a Europe-trotting "caper movie" that will feature "a Russian femme fatale and a male lead whose intentions are always in question.” After all, Burrell is rumored to be playing a chronically indolent agent of Interpol – a role originally rumored to be going to Django Unchained alum Christoph Waltz. Will Fey will be waiting on the other end of the European justice system as that previously rumored Russian ingenue?
Until we know more about The Muppets' sequel's plot and the exact nature of Fey's proposed role, it's more or less impossible to predict how the comedienne will interact with co-stars of both the human and felt varieties. Will she bring the same wry and slightly self-deprecatory wackiness that made her a 30 Rock fixture, or will the film need her to go in a different direction?
No matter the eventual nature of her performance (which is to say, if she ends up signing with the film at all), there's a certain joy to imagining the woman who brought the world Liz Lemon trading quips with Fozzie Bear and Miss Piggy.
The Muppets 2 is expected to be land in theaters late 2013.