With the wide release of Muppets Most Wanted today much is being made of the shift of primary plot focus back from the human characters played by Jason Segel and Amy Adams in 2011’s The Muppets to the Muppets themselves, with Kermit in particular shouldering a demanding double-role.
However, and most of us probably know, this franchise has always prided itself and relied upon great human cameos and one-offs. This was the format of the ‘70’s prime-time half hour, and in 1979, The Muppet Movie had appearances by Orson Welles, James Coburn, Bob Hope, Madeline Kahn,Paul Williams and Elliott Gould, to name a few, and the reboot upped the ante. So how did Muppets Most Wanted match up?
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Most Wanted’s Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey and Ty Burrell, are officially supporting characters, so we can throw them out along with The Muppets’ Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones ( Gervais actually had deleted scenes in The Muppets). Zach Galafianakis appears as Hobo Joe in both so he cancels out.
The Muppets featured cameos by Alan Arkin, Whoopi Goldberg, Selena Gomez, the singer Feist, James Carville, Emily Blunt, Dave Grohl, Neil Patrick Harris, John Krasinski, Mickey Rooney, Rico Rodriguez (Modern Family), Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino, Sarah Silverman, Kristen Schaal, Ken Jeong, Bill Cobbs and Jim Parsons. That’s about twenty.
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Most Wanted features cameos by Tony Bennett, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Monuments Men), Andrés Cantor (“Goooooooooooaaallllll!”), Jemaine Clement, Sean Combs, Rob Corddry (had deleted scenes in The Muppets), Mackenzie Crook, Céline Dion, Lady Gaga, Josh Groban, Salma Hayek, Tom Hiddleston (Loki), Tom Hollander, Toby Jones, Frank Langella, Ray Liotta, James McAvoy, Chloë Grace Moretz, Usher, Miranda Richardson, Saoirse Ronan (following up a cameo in Grand Budapest Hotel), Til Schwieger, Danny Trejo (deleted scenes in The Muppets), Stanley Tucci and Christoph Waltz.
So even throwing out the guys that you may have seen in the expanded The Muppets DVD, that’s still about a 20% increase for the celebrity cameo whore. Plus, you gotta give extra points for Tony Bennett. And considering there are an even higher percentage of unheralded actors in Muppets Most Wanted, there is a greater chance you will see some one in or close to a career breakthrough. So I say, progress!
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