The Voices Behind the Upcoming "Muppets Most Wanted"
Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted," directed by James Bobin, is scheduled for a March 21, 2014, theatrical release in the United States. This comedy sequel to 2011's "The Muppets" stars human actors and puppet performers. Many of the humans who appear in leading roles and cameos in the film are highly recognizable, including Salma Hayek, Tina Fey, Ray Liotta, Ty Burrell, Lady Gaga and Zach Galifianakis. Most viewers will recognize the puppets, since the majority of the characters originated in the 1970s as part of the television show "The Muppet Show" and subsequently starred in several Muppet movies. Eight individuals provide the voices for the more than 30 puppet characters that appear in "Muppets Most Wanted." The people who supply the voices behind these characters are probably not as recognizable when not accompanied by a puppet or two.
The much-loved little green frog, Kermit, stars in "Muppets Most Wanted. His voice is supplied by Steve Whitmire, who has performed Kermit the Frog since 1992's "The Muppet Christmas Carol." That movie was also Whitmire's movie debut as the voices of Rizzo the Rat and Beaker. Whitmire also became the voice of Statler in 2005's "The Muppets' Wizard of Oz." The Foo-Foo character, who makes an appearance in "Muppets Most Wanted," first featured the voice of Whitmire in 1981's "The Great Muppet Caper." This puppeteer, who started with the Jim Henson Company in 1978, has voiced characters on "Sesame Street," "The Muppet Show" and "Fraggle Rock." Besides starring as Kermit, Whitmire can also be heard on "Sesame Street" as the voice of Ernie.
The upcoming Muppets' movie also stars Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear and Animal. Sam the Eagle also makes an appearance. These four puppets owe their voices to puppeteer Eric Jacobson. Jacobson began his puppeteer career with the Sesame Workshop in 1994, when he was hired primarily for the extreme similarity of his vocal range to Frank Oz's, who created the Miss Piggy and Fozzie characters along with Jim Henson. Jacobson began performing the semi-regular role of Bert on "Sesame Street" in 1997. Jacobson currently provides the voice for Grover as well. His Muppet debut did not occur until 2001, with his movie Muppet debut a year later in "It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie."
For more than 30 years, Dave Goelz has been the voice of the blue alien Gonzo, who first appeared on "The Muppet Show" and then starred in 1979's "The Muppet Movie." Goelz had no prior experience as an actor or puppeteer before he was hired as a part-time puppet builder for Henson Associates in 1972. "Muppets Most Wanted" also features three other characters voiced by Goelz: Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot and Waldorf. Besides the Muppet characters, Goelz also voiced characters on "Sesame Street," "Fraggle Rock," "Dark Crystal" and "Labyrinth." He is the voice of Figment the Dragon in the "Journey into Imagination with Figment" ride at Walt Disney World.
In 1991, Bill Barretta began working at the Jim Henson Company. His first break came with Earl Sinclair's character in the syndicated TV show, "Dinosaurs." Barretta was first heard as the Swedish Chef in 1996's "Muppet Treasure Island." Additional Muppets, all of whom appear in "Muppets Most Wanted," voiced by Barretta are Pepe the King Prawn, Bobo the Bear, Rowlf the Dog and Dr. Teeth.
David Rudman provides the voices of Scooter, Janice, Bobby Benson and Wayne in "Muppets Most Wanted." He has performed as Cookie Monster on "Sesame Street" since 2001, but is a relative newcomer to the Muppets, starring in 2011's "The Muppets." Louise Gold is heard as young and aspiring pig Annie Sue and Wanda. Gold joined "The Muppet Show" in 1977 during the second season of the show. She was the only British member of the performing team.
Matt Vogel is the voice of "Muppets Most Wanted" stars Constantine, Sgt. Floyd Pepper, Camilla, Crazy Harry, Lew Zealand and a couple of other characters. Vogel has been with "Sesame Street" since 1996 as Big Bird's understudy, and performs the Count von Count character. He voiced the characters of Sgt. Floyd Pepper and Camilla in 2011's "The Muppets." The character of Constantine is a new one developed specifically for the villain role and counterpart to Kermit in "Muppets Most Wanted." Peter Linz is the voice of Walter, a role he first voiced in 2011's "The Muppets." Linz also performs several small characters on "Sesame Street" and is featured in "Bear in the Big House."
The cast of the upcoming "Muppets Most Wanted" movie is well experienced. Audience members will be delighted to hear the familiar voices of these talented voice actors.