Today I had a chance to interview David Hoberman, producer of 21 and Over. Hoberman. Along with his partner Todd Lieberman, Hoberman also produced Warm Bodies and The Muppets, so of course we asked about the sequel The Muppets... Again! The Muppets was a showbiz, getting the band back together story sort of like the original Muppet Movie. It sounds like Again is a spiritual successor to The Great Muppet Caper, with a mystery in London.
“I would say the caper in this is an element of this, but I think there are so many surprises and different, fun stories going on in this one that I would say that is an element of it,” Hoberman said. “The movie culminates in London but we go to Spain, we go to Germany, we go to a lot of different places. We just happen to end up in London. That’s where the caper culminates.”
Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy recently made news with their official engagement and wedding plans. Hoberman said the Muppets’ real life nuptials don’t impact the movie. “No, but we do tease that in the film,” he said.
Fan favorite new characters from The Muppets, the rival band The Moopets could make an appearance in The Muppets... Again! “I think Miss Poogy might be [in it]. We love The Moopets.”
Jason Segal announced he is not returning to write or appear in The Muppets again, so the new Muppet Walter will be without his human brother Gary. “The whole idea of the first one was really, the predominant story was him fulfilling his dream and getting accepted by the Muppets and now he is a Muppet. So they said their farewell and who knows? Down the road, maybe they’ll have a reunion of some kind. He’s not [in a cameo] this go round. We sort of do take off where the last movie ended, even though we have a completely different kind of story.”
Bret McKenzie won an Oscar for his music to The Muppets, and his songs for Again will cover different musical ground. “Bret wrote all these songs for this new movie and they are so different and cover such a wide range of genres, I think we’ve got a couple of spectacular musical numbers in this one and I think it runs the gamut of ballad and comedy songs. Probably one homage to contemporary rock. I think we have five songs in this and they’re all original, so I’m hopeful. Music is so ingrained in the Muppet culture and history, and it’s part of the fun of doing it frankly.”
Hoberman revealed there is one classic Muppet song being reprised, but would not give away which one.
It may surprise you to read that after the success of Warm Bodies, there are no immediate sequel plans being discussed. “I’m not quite sure what that would be,” Hoberman said. “I mean Warm Bodies is kind of a standalone movie but I guess if Jonathan [Levine] or somebody, the author or somebody came up with a great story. I would imagine the reason to do it is the chemistry between our leads which was pretty great chemistry. Certainly people fell in love with that love story, so I guess if there was story to tell, either continuing on, that would be the reason I would think to do it, but we’ve not talked about it. That’s not to say it won’t happen.”
Hoberman is also involved with a Flight of the Navigator remake. The original 1986 film was about a boy from 1978 transported to the then-present. Hoberman confirmed a remake would transpose the time to 2013 (so doing the math would have the kid originate in the distant past of 2005), but he hasn’t seen the latest script yet.
“We’re writing a script for it, due to receive in a couple weeks. It all depends on how that comes in but it’s certainly something we and the studio are interested in doing. I would better off be able to let you know when we read it. We’re trying to do something that’s fairly faithful to the original.”
Hoberman was also attached to a movie based on Disneyland’s Jungle Cruise ride, but he says that is on the back burner since they were not able to get a satisfactory script. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were attached but the early script they were involved with did not move forward, and Hoberman is not pursuing it at this time. Ditto Here There Be Monsters, Hoberman says it is still a work in progress.
We’ll have the complete David Hoberman interview, on 21 and Over and reflecting on Mr. Wrong and George of the Jungle, next week.