Acting for Two: In Muppet tradition. Lampshaded in an interview where Piggy does pitch-perfect "impersonations" of Fozzie and Animalnote all now performed by Eric Jacobson, but does an an absolutely pathetic Kermit impressionnote he's performed by Steve Whitmire.
When Chris Cooper was asked why he agreed to perform a rap song, his response was "Are you kidding? This is a Muppet movie! I'm in a movie with the Muppets! I'd have tapdanced in my underwear if they'd asked me to."
This is why Jason Segel, with a lot of Hollywood capital coming off Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the success of How I Met Your Mother, decided to spend it on creating a Muppets movie. Segel amusingly noted that the Disney executives were rather confused by the pitch, thinking he wanted to put a R-rated spin on it given his resume, but Segel was adamant that he simply wanted to make a traditional Muppets movie just because he was a big fan of the property and wanted to bring it back to prominence.
California Doubling: It looks like the car is coming out of the water in actual Cannes, France, but according to the DVD Commentary that was filmed at "a lake in Northern California" on the final day of shooting. The casting call was for "men with body hair", whom they put in Speedos, then obviously changed the background with CGI.
The Cast Showoff: Before becoming a film actress, Amy Adams worked in theatre (more specifically, dinner theatre), making her an easy fit for the singing and dancing required. The filmmakers gave her a golden opportunity to shine in a Gratuitous Disco Sequence.
While he eventually warmed up to it, Frank Oz the original performer for Miss Piggy and Fozzie, and probably the best-known Muppeteer who isn't Jim Henson was quite vocal about his hatred for the original script (in which Kermit was revealed to be Tex all along in an elaborate scheme to get the gang back together) and having his personal treatment passed over in favor of Segel's, which he claimed failed to "respect the characters." This is why he declined to participate. In the end, Oz liked the final film, but felt it was a little safe, citing his personal preference for the Muppets' edgier material. He was also glad the movie brought the Muppets back in the spotlight and made their fans happy.
Cross-Dressing Voices: While this is pretty obvious for Miss Piggy in the original English version and the Japanese dub, this is the first film when Piggy is voiced by males in all foreign dubs, by Disney's mandate.
Cut Song: My Morning Jacket's Jim James wrote at least three songs for the film, intended to be performed by the Electric Mayhem. The songs were scrapped (and a companion tour featuring the Mayhem performing with MMJ backing them fell apart), but didn't go to waste - the band recorded all of the songs from the project themselves. Two of those songs ("Wonderful" and "Outta My System") were released on their album Circuitalnote the album notes include the words "For E.M. Band idea. R.I.P." in reference to the fizzled tour, while the remaining song ("Friends Again") was released as the B-side to "Wonderful" and worked into their own concerts.
Deleted Scene: The movie was originally over two hours long, so many scenes hit the cutting room floor.
Several parts of the clips and previews shown before the release of the movie were not in the final cut, such as the Muppet farmer who performs at the start and end of Camilla's number, Gonzo knocking the bowling pin off Garys head, and various celebrities singing "Manha Manha" in various takes. Kermit doesn't introduce Camilla with the random, "... and now, dancing chickens!"
A scene which had the Muppets thrown in jail and featured Wanda Sykes and Danny Trejo was cut from the film. Judd Hirsch is only seen in the audience for a second and doesn't even say a thing!
Mary doesn't suggest going to lunch during Walter's drawn-out scream.
Walter, Gary, and Mary encountering a guy (Rob Corddry) in a very cheap Superman costume when they first arrive in LA. The costume was so cheap, it didn't even have an S-shield, and "Superman's" gut hung over his belt. Even so, Mary was the only one who was aware that he wasn't really Superman. It becomes Hilarious in Hindsight seeing that few years later, Mary's actress, Amy Adams, would go on to play Lois Lane.
A scene cut from the film but included in the b-roll footage released online had Kermit explaining to Gary, Mary and Walter that he doesn't actually live at the penthouse but instead just simply stops by once a week to check the mail and clean the pool filters. This also explains why Kermit is seen with a tool chest the first time we see him in the final film.
DVD Commentary: Features James Bobin (Director), Jason Segel (Gary, and co writer), and Nick Stoller (co-writer). Some nifty tidbits:
Jason Segel (Gary) was surprised that one of the choreographers was referring to Mickey Rooney as "Dad" as he told him where to move. Jason thought this was disrespectful of the older actor until he learned the choreographer, Michael Rooney, was in fact Mickey Rooney's son.
Jason found it very hard to keep his eyes open when he looks up into the rain during "Man or a Muppet".
On the set at Kermit's house where Gary and Walter sit on the same couch, Jason sat down on the side of the couch where Walter's puppeteer would usually stand underneath, i.e.- a hole (where Walter is "sitting" in the scene in the movie). Jason fell into it. He was unhurt, and it took Amy Adams a long time to stop laughing.
The actress who played Walters prom date in the photo at the beginning of the film also appears as an extra during the Muppet Telethon and outside the Muppet Theater. Bobin joked that he likes to think that shes still obsessed with Walter and followed him to Hollywood.
Sweetums scene at Mad Man Mooney and Sons was filmed at the same location as the car lot in The Muppet Movie.
James Bobin made a cameo (only seen from behind) as the director in the booth cuing the beginning of the telethon.
Looping Lines: Along with the musical numbers, there's Fozzie's voice. He often changes mid-sentence from a softer tone to a more traditional "Fozzie-ish" tone, making it obvious that there was some ADR work involved.
This is the third Muppet film not to feature Frank Oz in any role note any new role, anyway; the original version of "Mahna Mahna" plays over the credits, with Frank's vocals as the Snowths intact, after It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie and The Muppets' Wizard of Oz, and the first in theaters. His characters are voiced and performed mostly by Eric Jacobson instead.
While a full list of replacements for each character would be too involved, a general guide to the Other Darrins is: Eric Jacobson for Frank Oz, Matt Vogel for Jerry Nelson, Jim Henson's characters are mostly divided between Steve Whitmire and Bill Baretta, and Richard Hunt's characters are divided between Steve Whitmire and David Rudman.
Recycled Script: This is the second Muppet movie involving the Muppets putting on a show to raise the money needed to save the theater from a businessman trying to tear it down (the first being It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie). However, despite the reused basic premise, they are totally different movies.
Segel mentioned in an interview that during the montage involving Kermit finding a celebrity guest, one of the people they wanted to do was Elmo, who would be shot down by lawyers saying he couldn't join.
Gary was originally written as a ventriloquist with Walter as his animate puppet, but the Muppeteers and Disney didn't want the Muppets to be portrayed as puppets rather than living creatures.
Speaking of Walter, an early idea was to have him as a baby being delivered via stork while still retaining his same size and appearance.
They forbade the fact that Kermit was a millionaire in the early script and the mansion was way bigger. It was rewritten to have the place built by Piggy when they were still together, but they broke up, and Kermit's been taking care of it ever since, so it's shabby and a bit ill-kempt in some places.
In early versions of the script Miss Piggy was to become a Lady Gaga-type diva after the Muppets disbanded instead of a Vogue editor.
Originally everything would be orchestrated by Kermit himself for getting the gang back together again by revealing that Tex Richman would be Kermit in a human suit as part of a massive long-term scheme! Not only did Disney find it too complicated, but Kermit's former puppeteer Steve Whitmire thought that it was completely out of character and hated it so much that he threatened to have his name removed from the credits if this ending had been left in.
Another way the movie would've ended was with Kermit saying "And because this all went so well, we're going to bring back The Muppet Show this fall on ABC!" This ending got a note back from Disney saying "Nice try".
Molly Ringwald was written to appear, but ultimately couldn't. Her name does appear in Kermit's Rolodex as one of the 80s celebrities who turns him down as a telethon guest.
During a sequence set in a prison, that ultimately ended up getting cut, Charles Grodin would've made a cameo reprising his role as Nicky Holiday, but turned it down.
There was a scene in an early revision of the script in which one of the villains shot a gun, and everyone pretended to move in slow motion as a guy carried a Muppet bullet on a stick while making whooshing noises. Eventually Fozzie would burst in wondering what was going on, and would then start to move in slow motion too.
Walter's "human self" was initially envisioned as Michael Cera.
Working Title: The movie was originally gonna be called The Greatest Muppet Movie of All Time!!! And boy, did it deliver.
Drawing Board Hiatus: Their mid-season hiatus in December 2015 became this when a retool was ordered. It resulted in Piggy becoming less antagonistic, Pizza being dropped out, Camilla getting brought back and Rowlf returning for a Veterinarian's Hospital sketch. It still wasn't enough to avoid cancellation.
Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": As of December 2015 the show hasn't aired yet in Australia and their national non-commercial channel (also namedABC) already posted an article about Dave Grohl and Animal's drum duel at the end of "Going, Going, Gonzo" almost as soon as that episode aired in the States.
Role-Ending Misdemeanor: Allegedly, the behind-the-scenes tumult of the series played a role in Kermit the Frog's longtime performer, Steve Whitmire (who inherited the role after Jim Henson died), losing his job after working for The Muppets since 1978. Whitmire reportedly hated the changes being made to the characters and passed around notes to his colleagues against Disney's wishes. He also had trouble performing a scene from the series in which Kermit lies to his nephew, Robin, about breaking up with Miss Piggy, which he felt was an insult to Henson's vision of Kermit. Disney, however, claims it was his many years of outrageous behavior behind-the-scenes and that the issues regarding the show were the tipping point. He was actually fired five months after ABC announced the show's cancellation, but the news wasn't disclosed until nine months later.
Role Reprise: The Muppet Show veterans Dave Golez and Steve Whitmire reprise their roles from said series (Dave as Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot and Beauregard; Steve as Rizzo the Rat and Lips), in addition to the Muppet characters they inherited from deceased or retired performers.
During the first season's mid-season hiatus, ABC sought to address several issues that caused dissonance among viewers. Bob Kushnell, co-creator of the series, was fired and replaced by Kristen Newman, who ordered a quick Retool in order to address some of the problems the series was plagued with. Aside from the character of Denise being dropped and increased focus on the characters working in Miss Piggy's show than in their personal lives, not a whole lot was changed. The reception to these episodes was much more positive, but ABC seemed to not care, as they stopped actively promoting new episodes later on, hurting its ratings. Two months after the season ended, ABC confirmed that the series would be axed, putting the Muppets out of television once again. On the bright side, a lot of rumors of new Muppet attractions at Walt Disney World have spread around lately, so it looks like their future may not be so bleak after all.
Some dispute whether or not ratings were actually a factor, however. During production of the series, ABC got a new head honcho, who decided to revamp the network's slate and keep more established fare on the air, making The Muppetsoneofmanyseries that got thrown in the reject bin. Additionally, Disney, the parent company of ABC and owner of the Muppets franchise, suffered a setback in its television and consumer products businesses (with the Muppets being part of the latter) during the financial quarter of the show's airingnote for three reasons: One being the controversy over The Lion Guard, the second being the decline in ESPN subcribers and the third being declining ratings for Disney Channel due to the Teen Titans Go! craze, a factor which also lead to other Disney-owned channels cancelling popular shows, thus causing Disney to have to cut back on both units in order to recoup losses.
In an example of Screwed by the Affiliate, ABC's Boston affiliate WCVB delayed the episode "Tail of Two Piggies", along with the entire Tuesday night lineup, to the early morning hours due to running ad nauseum coverage of the New Hampshire primary election. A few other affiliates did this as well, and in some cases (again using WCVB as an example) many DVR's that were set to record the episode instead recorded half of The Muppets and half of Fresh Off the Boat.
Star-Derailing Role: Steve Whitmire's career with the Muppets came to an end after the failure of the series.
Troubled Production: Details are vague, but there was some kind of behind the scenes drama while the show was getting off the ground, which resulted in one of the producers leaving halfway through the first season and a major reboot occurring after the winter hiatus. The first episode made after this incident, the midseason premiere "Swine Song", lampshades and addresses these changes.
The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made is the most infamous and has been in it since 1985. They finally announced it in 2009, but it was set aside once again in favor of The Muppets. There are apparently many reasons it hasn't been made yet, but the only one made public is that, ironically, it would be too expensive to shoot.
There was also The Muppets' Haunted House, first mentioned in 1996, mentioned again in 2001, and mentioned yet again in 2007, but ultimately was shelved in favor of The Muppets' Letters to Santa.
In 2006, Disney had announced that it had completed the pilot for a 10-episode TV series that was an X Meets Y of The Muppets meets The Office (US), which would have been a mockumentary series of how the Muppets work together to put on their shows. Like the above mentioned Haunted House special, it too was shelved shortly thereafter due to the writers' strike. However, elements of this show would later be incorporated into the 2015 series.
Schedule Slip: Following Steve Whitmire's termination from the Muppets and Matt Vogel taking over as Kermit, it was said that Matts first public performance as the character would be in a Muppet Thought of the Week video said to be released sometime during the week of July 17th, 2017. However, the video ended up being delayed until August 28th for reasons unknown (though the various news articles released the week of July 17th providing more details regarding why Steve was fired from the Muppets might've had something to do with it).
Spin-Off Cookbook: In the Kitchen with Miss Piggy by Jim Lewis (The Muppets), a collection of recipes from celebrities with commentary by Piggy.
What Could Have Been: There was going to be a Muppets game for the Atari titled "Miss Piggy's Wedding".