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THE MUPPETS

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There are many advantages to shooting a movie in Southern California. "Horray for Hollywood,” says Kermit. "It was great to shoot so close to home. We saw so many friends…and put most of them in the movie.”

"The actors and celebrities who wanted to be a part of this experience were tremendous,” says producer Todd Lieberman. "There are going to be great surprises and many recognizable faces with really funny roles.”

Jason Segel topped the list of stars who wanted to work with the Muppets. Says Lieberman, "Jason was super passionate about the Muppets and a massive fan. He was the spark.”

The star was so passionate about the project, he not only helped write the script, he wrote a part for himself—a part that required him to sing, dance and act opposite some of the most iconic characters in the world. "In the finale of the movie there are 200 extras, 100 dancers and 50 Muppets,” says Segel. "It was very surreal and it happened to take place on my birthday. I walked out from my trailer thinking I was coming to film, and everyone sang ‘Happy Birthday,' including the Muppets. I kept thinking, ‘I've tricked everyone. Somehow I've made this weird childhood dream come true.' It was the craziest thing ever.”

Filmmakers called on Amy Adams, Chris Cooper and Rashida Jones to round out the main human cast. "Amy Adams plays Mary, Gary's love interest,” says producer David Hoberman. "She's a school shop teacher in Smalltown. We thought Amy was just a perfect Smalltown girl. She is also a Muppet fan.”

"I was really into the Muppet movies, the TV shows, the songs,” says Adams. "It's like every kid's dream—when you're playing with your stuffed animals, you wish they'd come to life and talk to you. And now, the Muppets are real. It's so great to have that physical presence in front of you.”

Cooper's portrayal of villain Tex Richman will surprise audiences, say filmmakers. "Chris is a fantastic Oscar®-winning actor,” says director James Bobin. "He brings a great level of weight to the role and I really wanted the villain in this movie to feel like a genuine threat to the Muppets. It's a difficult balance for Chris because he has to be the villain and have fun with it at the same time. He has moments of levity and moments of being serious.”

Cooper says he wanted to be in the film to showcase his hidden talents—and his affinity for his co-stars. "I wanted to sing and dance in a film! And, of course, to act with the Muppets.”

Jones feels the same way. "I feel like I'm in really good company—I really do think the Muppets are timeless. And besides being with the Muppets, it's just cool to be in a movie with Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Chris Cooper. Give me a break. That's so cool!”

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