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MUPPETS MOST WANTED

Constructing An Action-Comedy-Musical
Filmmakers Venture to the Dark Side for New Muppets Adventure

"In film, I am Number One Criminal," says Constantine, who joins the Muppets for the first time in "Muppets Most Wanted." "I have a secret plan with Number Two to steal the crown jewels of London. This plot has never been done before-well, at least not with Muppets."

According to director James Bobin, a caper of this magnitude needed to be set in an international locale. "If you're going to do a '60s-style caper, it needs a world setting and Europe gives it that classic feel. London, Madrid, Berlin and Dublin are the places to go if you're going to steal great treasures."

The whole Muppets gang returns to the big screen for "Muppets Most Wanted." "That's one of the great things about the Muppets," says Bobin, "you have so many to play with and you want to do them all justice-so we were happy everyone could be part of the international tour. They pile into a old timey, dilapidated circus train together and travel through Europe."

Convinced by dubious tour manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais) to take on the overseas tour, the Muppets are excited to perform in the biggest and best theaters Europe has to offer. But always the ribbit of reason, Kermit has his doubts and is reluctant to tackle such lofty venues. His troubles only get worse when his evil double leaps onto the scene. "Constantine escapes from prison and swaps places with Kermit," says Bobin. "Kermit ends up getting mistaken for the Number One Criminal and thrown in a Russian prison in northernmost Siberia, whilst the tour carries on with Constantine posing as Kermit."

Kermit encounters some shady characters-and cool cameos-while in prison, and tries to convince his captors of his true identity. But Nadya (Tina Fey), perhaps the feistiest prison guard in Siberia, keeps him on his flippers. Says Bobin, "I thought it would be good to have a character who's quite tough, but secretly soft on the inside. Nadya has a bit of a crush on Kermit because he's a very charming frog."

With Kermit out of the way, Number One and Number Two are free to pursue their evil plan. But hot on their trail are Jean Pierre Napoleon (Ty Burrell), a laid-back Interpol agent, and Sam Eagle, a slightly more driven CIA agent. They don't exactly see eye to eye, but must work together to solve the crime.

According to Bobin, the three comedy couples-Constantine and Dominic, Kermit and Nadia, Jean Pierre and Sam Eagle-form the engine that drives the global adventure.

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