Frank Oz is the performer behind (under?) some of the most popular Muppets of all-time, including Fozzie Bear, Miss Piggy, and Sam the Eagle, and on Sesame Street, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Bert. But he hasn’t been in a Muppets project since 2007, three years after Disney acquired the rights to the not-quite-mops, not-quite-puppets.
Would he be willing to return for more good times and good news?
“I’d love to do the Muppets again but Disney doesn’t want me, and Sesame Street hasn’t asked me for 10 years,” he told the Guardian. “They don’t want me because I won’t follow orders and I won’t do the kind of Muppets they believe in.” Oz said “the soul’s not there” about Disney’s Muppets projects, adding, “The soul is what makes things grow and be funny. But I miss them and love them.” He also believes that negotiations between Jim Henson and Disney when the Muppet visionary was alive is what killed him:
“The Disney deal is probably what killed Jim. It made him sick,” Oz replies. At the time of Henson’s death, he was negotiating with Michael Eisner, then the head of Disney, about selling the Muppets. “Eisner was trying to get Sesame Street, too, which Jim wouldn’t allow. But Jim was not a dealer, he was an artist, and it was destroying him, it really was,” says Oz.
Disney had had mixed success with the Muppets: the two movies, The Muppets and the underrated Muppets Most Wanted, are pretty fun and it’s great that every episode of The Muppet Show is available on Disney+ with most of the original music, but ABC’s The Office-like sitcom was a disaster and it’s sadly only a matter before Muppet*Vision 3D is replaced with an Enchanted ride, or whatever. It would be fascinating to see what Oz would do with the Muppets if he was brought back into the fold, although that’s becoming increasingly unlikely. At least he got to be Yoda one last time.
(Via the Guardian)