Interview: Walter From ‘The Muppets’ On His Sequel Idea And Why Amy Adams Will Be Cooking A TurkeyPosted: December 21, 2011
Walter sure was at the right place at the right time! The lovable and very talented muppet that recently shared the screen with Jason Segel, Amy Adams and his fellow muppets spoke to me about his big breakout role. From getting noticed at the Beverly Hills Hilton to landing on set with Kermit, Walter really has kept busy. He’s been promoting The Muppets with his new friends and is without a doubt their biggest fan.
Walter kept us laughing with his unforgettable humor and creative wit. Enjoying a nice turkey with Amy Adams over the holidays and Kermit giving him advice is one small detail. Walter even touches on his adventure sequel idea and how he had to stand on a box during scenes so that he can act alongside Jason. Even though he sometimes had to excuse himself to go order a coffee for Miss Piggy.
So here is everything that Walter and I spoke about on that very memorable day. Not sure about you, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to be working alongside the muppets for years to come!
Hi, Walter. How are you?
WALTER: Hi, Stephanie. I’m great how are you? [Laughs]
Good, good. I’m so excited to talk to you. I know you’re busy so I’ll get right to it.
Now this is your very first feature film! How did you get involved? Were you excited about it? Nervous?
Yeah! [Laughs] All of the above. The story goes, I was actually swimming laps at the Beverly Hills Hilton, and this guy comes up to me [and says], “Hey kid, you ever thought of acting? You ever thought of being in movies?”
It was a real, like you know, 1930s, yeah, 1940s Hollywood story. And I met Jason. And at first, I read the script and I actually was a little paranoid cause I thought the guy had cameras in my house, like my whole life. Cause he basically wrote my life story. I mean I know in the movie I play this guy named Walter who’s a huge muppet fan, but in real life my name is Walter, and I’m a huge muppet fan!
[Laughs] How was the first day on set like? Did anyone help you get comfortable?
Oh, yeah! Well, Jason was great of course. And Kermit was there. After I got over my nerves about meeting him, he was great. He gave me the best advice I think any one gave me that entire movie. He said “Walter, if you’re hungry and you need to get a brownie from the craft table, get a box because they put them a little high up.” That advice served me for the entire run of the film.
Too funny, but such great advice! How did you feel about the film being made in general?
I was thrilled! Are you kidding? I mean you’re getting the muppets back out there. Back in the spotlight where they belong, you know? It was an ambition and a childhood dream come true!
How was it working with Jason Segel? What was one of your favorite moments on set with him?
Hmm. Gosh. There were so many. Umm, I loved doing the dramatic acting with Jason. We had to… we had this dramatic scene in the dressing room, where I’m trying to figure out my talent, and he’s trying to figure out what’s going on with his character’s relationship with Mary, played by Amy Adams. It was really wild doing something dramatic with a guy who’s sooo funny.
The other cool thing is that I got to stand on a lot of boxes. Yeah, I talked about the craft table, but a lot of the scenes–you might’ve noticed I’m only about 1’6” and Jason is 6’4”–so for a lot of scenes, he was sitting down and I was standing on a box.
What about Amy Adams? Have you ever seen Enchanted?
Oh yeah. She’s sooo talented, and so versatile. I mean, she’s great at playing these kind of you know, wide-eyed, innocent characters that are just so funny, and she’s just an amazing singer and dancer – totally like musical theater background. But then she can turn around and do something dramatic! Like the scene in The Muppets where she’s using the thesaurus to find all the different words that mean ‘alone’. Ah! That was so moving.
Were there any inside jokes on set?
Oh, you mean like practical jokes?
Hmmmm. Well, I don’t know if it was a joke – I thought it was. But every time Miss Piggy saw me–and actually it’s still true to this day–she’s like: “Who are you again?” She kept thinking I was her coffee boy.
And I gotta tell you, it’s really tough to find a double latte with no milk.
That was her order.
Who did you hang out most with on set? I bet it was really, really cool to meet Kermit.
Oh yeah! It was sooo cool to meet Kermit. Actually, I met him at my audition. And what happened in real life is exactly what happened in the film. I totally fainted.
No you didn’t! You seriously fainted when you met him?
I seriously fainted! I hit my head sooo hard on the table as I went down. Gonzo thought it was great, the way I did it. Really professional. Actually I was a little embarrassed about it until I came to and saw that Jason was sobbing. So that made me feel a little bit better. He was sobbing cause that was his first time meeting Kermit too.
So that was your first interaction?
…It was painful, embarrassing and uh, the greatest moment of my life.
Very memorable! And there was a ton of actors on the set besides Jason and Amy too.
Oh yeah, there were.
Do you have a favorite that you worked with?
Oh yeah, there were. I mean, Fozzie, Miss Piggy, Animal and Dr.Teeth. A lot of famous actors!
Do you hope that there’s gonna be more Muppet films in the future?
Oh yes, definitely. Boy, I sure hope so. I mean right now I’m really busy being just a cheerleader for this one. Boy, I would love for there to be more Muppet movies. Maybe TV shows, anything. Anything with the muppets.
I hope so.
Actually, I do have an idea. Can I share it with you?
I mean, no one at Disney’s talked to me or anything. I’ve just been working on my own. But I thought it would be really cool to have like, aMuppets action adventure sequel to go along with the Bourne franchise. You know, like Bourne Identity?
Oh, yeah yeah yeah!
And I would call it: Bourne Yesterday.
That would actually be so funny. And you would want everyone from this Muppets to kind of come with you to do it right?
Oh, absolutely! Yeah! Listen, I couldn’t imagine doing anything without them!
And I know you’ve been promoting a lot for the movie. Is there any celebrities that you were kind of star struck meeting throughout the whole process?
Oh yeah, for sure. The first time I met Gonzo, I, it, I got fully tongue tied. Twisted. Like I am with you right now! Tongue tied! Gonzo gave me that. I mean, the guy is such an artist, you know? It’s like, some of this stuff I’m not–I don’t think I’m quite intelligent enough to grasp how great some of his art is. But some art is like that, you know? People appreciate it on different levels. But are you talking, like… oh, you mean like ‘people’ celebrities?
Yeah, them too!
Right. Oh I got one: Alan Arkin. How great is Alan Arkin? You know, the cool thing is that, Alan was actually a guest star on The Muppet Show back in the day.
And so, I talked to him a little bit about his experience on that. And it was just incredible. He’s such as great guy.
What did he talk about it?
Well, his experience was that, he felt like he developed some really great friendships with Kermit and Fozzie Bear and in particular Animal. He really, he really felt a connection to Animal. They just had the best time together.
That’s great. With the movie, you had mentioned a little bit of your favorite moments. Was there a certain dance number or song you liked best?
Oh gosh, you know, it’s like, it’s like choosing a favorite child. They were all great for different reasons. I mean the opening song, you know everything was great. It’s so catchy and the dancers were amazing in that. Jason and I got to sing and dance together. I got a cake dropped on my head! I got kicked across the town square! Umm, a lot of good stuff. And then of course “Man or Muppet.” I mean, how can you not like that song?
[Laughs] Jason Segel, he obviously has been a huge, huge fan. Did he ever talk to you about that? Did he give you any advice as an actor too?
Well, he did ask me to act taller, if at all possible. I’m not, never really quite sure what he meant about that. But, umm you know what, Jason actually–his advice was similar to Kermit’s in that, you know, he said ‘don’t believe your own press.’ You know, look at Kermit the Frog. He’s, Kermit’s been doing this for over 50 years. He’s still the same great guy that he’s always been. I mean he could be a total a jerk, but he’s not. He’s just, I think it’s actually true with all the muppets–what you see is what you get. They are who they are. And they’re true to themselves. And, uh, I think that’s brilliant.
So very true. They are so great. Do you have any holiday plans with them coming up?
Oh right, well I think we’re all invited over to Amy Adams’ house. Cause she cooks a mean turkey. I mean the Swedish Chef, you know he tries, but uh, I think I’d be better off with Amy’s turkey.
Sounds fun! And lastly, Ology is all about passions. What would yours be?
Well okay, a really broad one is–I’m really passionate about The Muppets. This film and The Muppets’ entire body of work. That is a huge passion of mine. Umm, a second passion that I have, I love singing and dancing and making people happy. That’s a really big passion. I know that’s kind of general. And my third passion is trying not to get killed when I do my own stunts.
That must have been tough.
I was a little nervous about my own stunts, but Gonzo made it look like fun! But it was odd, because the more advice he gave me, the more injured I seemed to get. But he said I was doing great! He had to try out the electric sets a few times before me just to make sure the voltage was high enough. It looks more realistic that way.
That was nice of him! Now, do you have any upcoming projects?
No, not yet. You know, right now I’m just busy being a cheerleader for The Muppets. There really hasn’t been time for anything else just yet. I just try to encourage folks to go out and to do themselves a favor and go see this movie. It’s going to make their life so much better. I think Jason told me, and I think that you can believe him–I think International Film Magazine voted The Muppets the best film ever. Like in history.
Wow! That’s huge!
I know, right? [Laughs]
So deserving of it too. Well, thank you so much Walter for talking with me. The movie was amazing. And good luck with everything!
Aww, Stephanie. Thank you so much.
Thank you. Have a good one.
You too! Bye, bye.