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The New New Quote Thread

antsamthompson9

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Andy Nyman: When you stopped doing the Muppets, how hard was that to say goodbye? Not to the pals, because you're gonna stay in touch with those guys, but actually drawing a line under that for you. I can't imagine how tough that would have been.
Frank Oz: It's still hard, it still hurts every time I see them. You know, they're a part of me, and it's such a conflict because on one hand, I couldn't keep doing them all the time cause I was directing movies. I can't be away for a year and say "You can't use my characters". So it really hurts, cause I'd like to keep playing them. And thank God I got these guys here who I know so well and see all the time, but the characters I really miss. And on the other hand, the conflict is I'm very grateful to Eric and everybody else for doing the characters or else they wouldn't be there. So I'm right in this conflict, you know?
 

LittleJerry92

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Cop: Good evening. Uh, do you know why I pulled you over?
Griffy: Um, I’m not really su-
Caleb: It’s cause we black, huh? It’s cause we black?
Cop: (pause) (sigh) Sir, you were speeding in a residential-
Caleb: NO! You pulled us over because of our SKIN, didn’t you?! DIDN’T YOU?! OUR PIGMENTATION!
Cop: I’m going to need you to calm down/
Caleb: Or WHAT?! OR WHAT?! WHAT THE **** YOU GONNA DO, IF I DON’T CALM DOWN?! HUH?!
Cop: Sir, relax!
Caleb: Or what?! OR WHAT?! You gonna SHOOT ME?! With your GUN?! OFFICER?! WELL SHOOT ME, NOW!!! SHOOT US!!! SHOOT US BOTH!!!! ME.....AND HIM!!! SHOOT! UUUUSSSS!!!! DO IT!!!! DOOO IIIIT!!!! KILL US!!!! KILL US BOTH!!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!! DO IT!!!! WE READY TO DIE!!!! TODAY!!!!! RIGHT NOW!!!!
 

antsamthompson9

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Cam Garrity: You mentioned the incredible influence that working with Jim had on you being able to inherit Kermit and Ernie and things like that, did you have any kinda succession plan in trying to mentor someone to take on your characters or what did you see as your legacy in being able to hand down for whatever reason? Obviously it happened sooner than you would have wanted to, but did you have any thought of recasting the characters?
Steve Whitmire: No I didn't, and it was partially because at the point when Jim passed away, we weren't expecting it. It was completely out of nowhere and we survived anyway. I gave a little thought to it, because I started thinking about how Jim and I worked together to get to the stage where I was able to even think about doing it. And I started thinking about finding a performer, the mistake would be to say "You're now gonna be the understudy for Kermit." And the reason that's a mistake is it puts that person in the mindset of feeling like they're guaranteed a job after I die. But the real point is once they're designated as that person, how can they learn? Because all they're doing is knowing they're learning to be an understudy for a specific character. So after 2 years of being my understudy, they need to move on and be working, but they're not doing Kermit, cause it wouldn't make sense cause the character needs to remain individual, so you give them a new character, and then they get really good at that character, and then they're tied up when it comes time to do Kermit. Understudies with the Muppets just don't work, it was never part of what Jim did, he never thought about it, we never spoke about me doing Kermit, it was something he said to somebody else evidently. And it wasn't because he was planning on giving Kermit to me, that's not what happened, it was because in a casual mention he said "I'm selling my company to Disney, I might be too busy to continue performing all the time, so I might talk to Steve about doing it." Totally casual, we never talked about it once. He had a gut feeling about it for whatever reason, he felt like he could come to me on it. I needed to find that person, and I never found them, I never had the opportunity. So it's too bad because, none of what I learned over that 30 years about Jim, unfortunately it doesn't remain. I don't mean that as a personal comment on anyone, it can't, because they just didn't have first-hand experience with Jim, and it doesn't count that they had first-hand experience with me cause now it's second-removed. The standard practice at Disney, totally understandable, I get it from a logistical corporate standpoint, was to have half-a-dozen people who they call on to do the voice of an animated character. That's a very corporate way of looking at a character. You can't really do that with the Muppets if they're gonna stay the Muppets. And then you say "What do you mean? They're still the same characters." There's another side of the Muppets that's that other side, this objective side to them, which is something you only learn after being there for a long time. And on that side, if it's lacking Jim's direct influence, I think for those core legacy characters, it's a problem. I hate to say this but, I'm afraid it might be too late, I don't think it can be reinstalled and it can't be synthesized.
Cam: But do you think regardless of whether or not you had past the character on or anything, at a certain point doing the biologic math, there wouldn't be able to be a puppeteer who was on Earth at the same time as Jim let alone knew him. So did you see the future of the Muppets going off into the sunset?
Steve: No, the Muppets to me are not a legacy, they're a lineage tradition. And that comes from some of the spiritual work, if you wanna learn Judo, you need to go to a master who can teach that. If you wanna learn to paint like Picasso and Picasso's there, you wanna learn under Picasso. If you can't do that, and you want to do that style of painting, you need to learn from a person who learned from him. It should be a lineage, and multi-casting the characters won't work because, everyone of those is just a new version. It's like, and I love this by the way, everybody has a Kermit impression, but it's still not Kermit, that's an outside look at Kermit, not an interior look at why he sounds that way or what he might say at a certain point or the mannerism he might use. I think you can fake it, you can base it on what you've seen objectively, but that's always gonna be different not just with Kermit, but with any of the core established characters than the direct experience from the original person. That's way, and I'm reading into his meaning why Frank might say something like "I love those guys, but they'll never be as good as me." He's got a lot of flack for that, well they are as good as him, they're great puppeteers, but I think what he means is at doing his characters. And most of them haven't spent any significant time learning how to do that from the man, IE they haven't learned who Frank is, they haven't learned where those characters come from from within Frank, so it's hard. Eric's an amazing performer, he's strong, but the characters, there's a place where they went on to a juncture where they're not quite reflective of Frank. And you can say, "Well that's okay, it's a new thing." It is to a degree, but when a character like Kermit deviates, all the others who've been inherited by other people start to feel less like them, it's that group dynamic. If the group dynamic feels stilted, the whole dynamic feels stilted. And all of that is the connection to the audience that the Muppets have, it's all about knowing that we always knew behind Kermit, there was a person, behind Fozzie there was a person, behind Cookie Monster and Ernie and Bert there was a person. And Jim always maintained that the puppets were just tools, they were just the way in which you knew Jim Henson. Probably my only regret is to see that start to dissipate and I never had the opportunity to install that in the Disney system, and I think it could be.
Adam Kreutinger: Yeah.
Cam: Do you think Matt Vogel at least benefited from the fact that he was able to work with you and see how you work and hopefully have insight into who you are?
Steve: Well sure, and I love Matt, I'm the person who got Matt into that side of the Muppets, I brought him in. And it wasn't easy actually, because they weren't looking to hire anybody that they'd have to fly from New York.
 
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Grumpo

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...an interior look at why he sounds that way or what he might say at a certain point or the mannerism he might use. I think you can fake it, you can base it on what you've seen objectively, but that's always gonna be different not just with Kermit, but with any of the core established characters than the direct experience from the original person.
This.
@antsamthompson9, do you recall which interview they talked about Frank advising Steve during one of the early sessions not to try to play Kermit, but play Jim playing Kermit instead? Pity i keep forgetting where they said that -- it kind of explains the above perfectly.
 
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antsamthompson9

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Steve Whitmire: One of the things in my career that I was lucky enough to experience was going from being that incredibly obsessive fan to being a person who met Jim and worked with him and continuing it on, it's almost like there's 3 phases of that, and no matter how much you know about the Muppets from a fan's objective perspective, there's a huge difference between that, cause I was the nerdiest of nerds, and having to become a part of the Muppets under Jim's mythologies and his way of doing things. It's a huge difference cause I walked in thinking "I know how to do puppets." I wasn't cocky about it, but I thought that, and I didn't know anything. And it took me 5 years or more to learn Jim's methods and how he did things, and so much of that is the socialization of what it felt like in the studio. It goes back to auditioning for multiple performers to do characters which was a big thing when we first showed up at Disney, totally logical from a corporate point of view, totally wrong for the Muppets.
Adam Kreutinger: Yeah, cause the example you gave was with a cartoon, a cartoon is so manufactured, you have the voice, the people drawing it and so on, where I feel like the person doing the voice of a cartoon has very little control over the character, but with a puppeteer it's more like an actor, in the same way you wouldn't from one episode to the next cast a different person to play that character.
Steve: Yeah, standins and understudies are not something you commonly see in television. You don't see a primetime show or something on Netflix where this week a major character is played by someone else, you just don't do that. The Muppets should be treated the same way, but it's a step further, an executive one time said to me "So what's the difference between Michael Keaton playing Batman and Val Kilmer playing Batman and you playing Kermit and someone else playing Kermit?" And I said "There's no actual entity in the world named Batman." If we're gonna be the people who put the Muppets into the world, we need to maintain that Kermit is an entity in the world, that Piggy lives in the world. It's tongue-in-cheek and we all suspend the disbelief, but there's no guy going around saying "I am Bruce Wayne", it doesn't work that way. There's a distinction, and I guess there's just no way around that, it's how you define the Muppets. If you define them objectively as a group of puppets that's a franchise owned by Disney and here's the traits they have and the things they do, you could manufacture that. If you define them as Jim Henson's Muppets, the ones I knew and was mentored under, that are these individual citizens of Earth, you can't do it that way. And I had a lot of Muppet years left in me and it's too bad it had to end the way it did, and it was mostly cause I was standing up for what I believed in.
Adam: And what was that?
Steve: What I believed in? The things I just said, that we couldn't illegitimize the characters for commoditization.
Adam: Was there a certain specific thing that was the straw that broke the back then of you trying to do that, you don't know?
Steve: I don't know, as you might have read on my blog, there were a couple reasons that were stated, but they were not really reasons, and the only thing they had in common was they were examples of me trying to steer people in the right direction, and I think it was probably annoying to people. I wasn't being an annoying person, I wasn't yelling and screaming, or having tantrums or refusing to do the work, at the end of the day, I had a job to do, I went in and did my work, but I was trying to steer things back on a track that I felt was reflective of what I learned from Jim, what I experienced working with Jim, and what I continued to learn about Jim through my experience of studying him in order to actively portray Kermit seriously. I thought I knew Jim pretty well when he passed away, but I know him better right now much more than I did in 1990. I really had to make a science out of why he did the things he did, cause we hadn't really done that. Jim was just Jim and was doing things he did and it flowed from him in a graceful way, and we all worked and were all on board and we all understood, but we never stopped and thought about the details of why he choose to do things a certain way. And that became necessary when you sat around a boardroom table, you could sit at Disney or any boardroom table and you could say "We had this wonderful experience where we all felt great with each other", and people would look at you like you had 2 heads, you don't say that in an environment around a boardroom table. You need to have tangible reasons as to why all those things that felt so good to us also translated into why your characters are gonna be successful. I strived to do that the whole time, and it just couldn't quite take hold. A lot of it was trying to fly under the radar and get things done with the Muppets and it just didn't sound right in a corporate environment. So the good side of that is there are so many resources and so many incredibly talented people within Disney, and I met so many of them and worked with them and their hearts are all in the right place, even those who might have disagreed with what I was saying. They always loved the Muppets, it was just they were corporate officers and they had to do things a certain way.
 
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CBPuppets

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Knuckles: Next time, you should "bee" more careful!

Amy: That wasn't funny the first sixty-seven times you said it. [A Crab Bot saunters over to Amy, and she crushes it with her hammer.]

Knuckles: Next time, he should "crab" more careful!

Amy: Okay, now you're just trying to annoy me.

--Sonic Boom Episode: Let's play musical friends--
 

antsamthompson9

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Kirk Thatcher: The Muppet ethos, the internal ethos that you wouldn't know unless you work there, is very much the spirit of the character, not a voice impression. Cause there are people who do Kermit spot-on, but they're not puppeteers, and they're like "We can dub it over", but that's not the company and that's not the way Jim set it up. Spirit embodies it, and that's how it is with every character. In fact one of the bits of friction when Disney bought the Muppets was that they said "We'll audition nine people to do Kermit and ten to do Piggy." And the guys, the puppeteers and some of the people who worked with the company said "That's not how it works, you won't get the Muppets, you'll get a guy in a Mickey Mouse costume dancing, you lose their soul." It's like saying "We're gonna do an Austin Powers movie, but we're gonna audition five Austin Powers." No, Mike Myers created that, you can't do it without him, unless he says "I don't wanna do it anymore." So it's the same thing, you wouldn't hire Monty Python, you say "We're gonna reboot Monty Python, so we're casting John Cleese."
 

D'Snowth

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SNUFFY: Ohhh deeaaar . . . ohhhhh deeeaaaarrr . . . and once more, ohhhhhhhh deeeeeeaaaaaaarrrrr!
GABI: Why are you "Oh dear"-ing, Snuffy?
 
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