Ryan Dosier – Greetings, Muppet fans! When we last spoke about my journey to the set of Muppets Most Wanted last May, I had just gotten my picture taken with Walter and I had just watched a dozen Muppets shoot a scene in front of an Amtrak train. (To recap fully, just read Part 1.)
So! Where could we possibly go from there? Well, after getting our pictures with Walter, Matt Wilkie and I returned to the main hub where all the cast, crew, and extras were having lunch. It was a fully catered craft services lunch that you hear about. Honestly there was everything. Pasta, chicken, fish, cookies (more on those later), ice cream… everything. It was awesome. And Matt and I got to eat it for free and no one said anything to us. Very strange, wonderful times.
And yet the times got even stranger and wonderfuller. Matt and I sat down at one of the few empty tables and started eating. We were only a few bites in when Peter Linz and Matt Vogel came to sit with us. I don’t know if this was because there was nowhere else to sit… but I doubt it. Almost immediately after sitting down, Peter and Matt whipped out their iPhones and started showing us pictures on-set pictures they had taken. I distinctly remember shots of Louise Gold and Annie Sue, Walter and Ricky Gervais in their trench coats, Peter and Bill Barretta performing the flamingos, the Muppet performers freezing at the gulag set, and so much more. It was unreal.
And yet it got more unreal. After lunch, the producers dismissed all of the extras, background puppeteers, and 90% of the crew, but somehow Matt and I got to stick around. At that point, things got crazy, as all of the Muppet performers–Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, and David Rudman–came to sit at our table. There we were, me and Matt, just casually hanging out with our heroes. No one questioned it, no one asked why we were still there… everyone was just so happy to sit and talk to us. Unbelievable.
Honestly, I can’t think of any words to describe that moment. It completely blew me away to be in the presence of these people that I adore–and to be with them all at one time? I was stunned. I can’t recall what we talked about, but I do remember lots and lots of laughter. I know that I was a part of something special there and I’m thankful for every single thing that led to that moment. Out of everything I’ve gotten to do because of The Muppet Mindset, I think that one moment, sitting with seven of my heroes as just one of the guys, is the culmination of it all.
And yet, it didn’t stop there. While we were waiting (and at that point I wasn’t even sure what we were waiting for), I asked to take a picture with Peter. Of course he said yes, so we posed for the picture… and then Dave Goelz wanders in because he was jealous he wasn’t in the picture. Ridiculous. Here’s that glorious picture:
After that, I noticed David Rudman was eating a cookie… and obviously I had to get a picture of that. The performer of Cookie Monster eating a cookie? Come on. Anyway, here’s that picture:
At one point after that, the Union Station crew was putting away the tables, so we had to get up. I grabbed my backpack to move it out of the way. Dave Goelz saw me do this and said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Are you leaving?! You can’t leave!” I said, “No, no I’m just grabbing my backpack.” He was relieved. I was confused. And enthralled. The day just kept getting better.
And then the day turned into the best. We finally found out what we were waiting around for when some of the performers went into a back room to do some on-set ADR (automated dialogue replacement, aka dubbing). Steve, Eric, Bill, and Dave stayed behind for a rehearsal with James Bobin. There, in the grand hall of Union Station, Steve Whitmire pulled out Kermit, Eric Jacobson pulled out Fozzie, Bill took Statler, and Dave took Waldorf, and the four of them rehearsed the lines leading up to “We’re Doing a Sequel” and the first few bars of the song.
So Matt and I sat there, watching our own private Muppet rehearsal and hearing the start of “We’re Doing a Sequel” nearly a year before the film’s release. I’m not kidding when I say that those lines of the song did not leave my head for 10 months until I heard the whole thing. I knew then and there that Muppets Most Wanted would be a hysterical, incredible experience. They must’ve rehearsed that opening a dozen times, because the lyrics were ingrained in my brain. Again, I could not believe I was there experiencing this.
After the rehearsal wrapped, everyone was finished and the day was over. At this point it was probably about 5 in the evening, making for a long, hugely fulfilling day. As we were leaving, Peter and Debbie McClellan told Matt and I that they would be filming another scene–this one on Hollywood Boulevard–two days from then. They said we could come and they would be in touch… so my trip was clearly just beginning. Hard to believe that after the day I had just had, there would be another day on set with the Muppets. But… more on that later.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org