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Kermit and Pepe the King Prawn celebrate 35 years of Muppets movie magic

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Thirty-five years ago, the Muppets made it big in Hollywood with their first film, The Muppet Movie, which told the tale of how Kermit and the gang first came together. The film was a hit, an instant classic, and fans have followed them faithfully in seven sequels, adventures that have taken the Muppets to London, the Big Apple, the 19th-century, the high seas, and even space. This week, their latest film, Muppets Most Wanted arrived on Blu-ray and DVD. In the comedy, which co-stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell, among others, Kermit is mistaken for a master criminal named Constantine and thrown into a Russian gulag while the real crook uses the Muppets’ European tour to go on a crime spree.

Entertainment Weekly sat down with Kermit and Pepe the King Prawn to discuss the Muppets’ cinematic legacy of laughter, beginning on that swamp log and stretching into the future—for a possible Muppets horror movie.  READ FULL STORY

Disney just launched a Muppets digital series

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Is it easier being green or going viral?

Disney has launched a new digital series starring the Muppets in support of The Muppets Most Wanted release on Blu-ray and DVD August 12. The series, called Disney Drive-On with The Muppets, follows the characters’ adventures in the movie industry and as they interact with various celebrities.

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Hear the opening number from 'Muppets Most Wanted'

We already knew the Muppets were doing a sequel, but now they’re reminding us in song. In a new trailer for the film, the whole gang joins together to sing “We’re Doing a Sequel,” featuring appearances by Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, P. Diddy, and more. The Muppets propose ideas for the sequel’s subplot, and we find out Fozzie Bear didn’t even watch the first movie. Typical Fozzie. The winning idea goes to Gervais: “How about the Muppets go on a world tour?”

Watch the delightful bunch over on the Disney website.

'Muppets Most Wanted': Check out the extended Super Bowl spot -- VIDEO

“Critics across the Internet have at least seen some of the commercials for Muppets Most Wanted,” the felt-tastic sequel’s latest TV spot declares. And now you can be one of them: The special Game Day ad has already been posted online. Much like the previews released in early January and during the Golden Globes, the clip features messages written by twitter users who totally, 100% exist but tweet only about Muppet-related stuff — like @kevkoast315 and, of course, @pleaseusemeinad. (Congratulations, not-fake guy!)

It’s also got a tantalizing glimpse at Tina Fey as an evil Russian, as well as cameos by the likes of Christoph Waltz and Tom Hiddleston… not to mention a little something special, courtesy of the movie’s  evil Kermit doppelganger. (Hint: Don’t check your router; the wifi’s working just fine.)

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These definitely real Twitter users want you to see 'Muppets Most Wanted' -- VIDEO

In These Modern Times, it’s no longer enough to simply make a trailer for your movie. You’ve got to plan an elaborate public stunt designed to fool people into believing that telekinesis is real, or create a fake conspiracy theory about how one of your film’s main players shot JFK, or garner $20 million worth of free advertising by having your star shoot 70 different car commercials, co-host the Canadian Olympic curling trials, and give college journalism students faux-important career advice, all without breaking character.

Comparatively, then, the latest trailer for Muppets Most Wanted — which comes complete with a “viral” marketing campaign of its own — seems tame. The spot highlights the “critics and audiences across the Internet” who “can’t stop talking about the upcoming movie Muppets Most Wanted.” It even features tweets from three of these boosters, who write about the movie with varying levels of enthusiasm: fuzzyben4375, poppafreshness, and ihearthorses214.

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A first look at the Muppets sequel, 'Muppets...Again!' -- EXCLUSIVE

Cue Kermit’s patented arm-flailing “Yaaaaaay!” Following their successful return to the pop culture spotlight with 2011’s The Muppets, Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and the rest of the gang are heading back to the big screen. The Muppets…Again!, currently shooting in London and due in theaters March 21, 2014, finds the Muppet repertory company enjoying a triumphant world tour, only to become tangled up with a criminal mastermind named Constantine, who is out to steal an enormous diamond—and who happens to be a dead ringer for Kermit. “I always loved those classic jewel-heist capers from the ’60s and ’70s, so I was very keen to do a movie that had elements of that [genre] featuring the Muppets and comedy and songs,” says returning director James Bobin, who co-wrote the script with Nicholas Stoller. Starring opposite the Muppets this time are Ricky Gervais (as Constantine’s villainous sidekick), Tina Fey (as a Russian prison guard), and Ty Burrell (as an Interpol agent). For more inside scoop on the project, we went straight to the source: Kermit the Frog himself. READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: James Franco to step behind and in front of the camera for 'Tabloid.' Plus: Dwayne Johnson, Ray Liotta

• James Franco is in the early stages of preparing to direct and star in an adaptation of James Ellroy’s 1995 novel American Tabloid, about three members of law enforcement in the years leading up to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Nothing, however, is close to a firm deal. If you’re about to say, “Hey, wait a minute, didn’t Franco also recently line up Beautiful People, a biopic about famed hair stylist Jay Sebring, as his next acting-directing venture,” we’re waaaaay ahead of you. [MTV]

• Dwayne Johnson will produce and possibly star in film with the working title of Teddy Bear, about a courageous stuffed animal who defends its owner from all manner of monsters. The project is based on an illustration by Alex Panagopoulous of that very thing — and it’s pretty effing cool — but no writer or director are yet attached. [THR]

• Speaking of adorable creatures from childhood, Ray Liotta has joined the cast to the sequel of 2011’s The Muppets, in an undisclosed role. He’ll join Ricky GervaisTina Fey, and Ty BurrellJames Bobin is returning to direct the film, penned by Bobin and Nicholas Stoller. [Variety]

Read more:
Casting Net: Charlie Hunnam aiming to join Emma Stone in ‘Crimson Peak.’ Plus: Michael Gambon and Alfred Molina to play a couple
Casting Net: James Franco to direct and star in biopic ‘Beautiful People.’ Plus: Liam Neeson lands action pic, Paul Dano to play Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson
Casting Net: Al Pacino and Brian De Palma to tell Penn State coach Joe Paterno’s story. Plus: Patrick Stewart, Carla Gugino, Dylan McDermott

Disney moves 'Maleficent' to summer 2014, claims summer 2015 for Capt. Jack Sparrow

After a period of relative quiet in the House of Mouse’s feature film department, Disney’s magic cinema cauldron is brewing once more.

The studio announced today that Angelina Jolie’s live-action Maleficent — a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story from the perspective of its wicked villain — has been shifted from its original release date of March 14, 2014 to the far more high profile release of July 2, 2014, smack in the middle of the Independence Day holiday. It will also be released in 3-D.  READ FULL STORY

Casting Net: Tina Fey teaming up with the 'Muppets.' Plus: Josh Brolin, Christopher Meloni entering 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

• Tina Fey once made a muppet-y episode of 30 Rock, and she’s once again returning to the world of felt skin and feather hair. The upcoming Golden Globes cohost is in final talks for a lead role in the sequel to 2011’s The Muppets, as a guard in a Russian gulag. She’ll join Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell. Director James Bobin is returning for the second installment, writing the screenplay with Nicholas Stoller. [THR]

• Josh Brolin and  Christopher Meloni are joining the growing ensemble cast of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Brolin, whose casting was announced by Dimension Films, will play a younger version of Clive Owen’s character Dwight from the 2005 Sin City. In the new film, Dwight is hounded by an ex-flame, ultimately leading him to change his face into Owen’s visage. Meloni, meanwhile, will play a (likely dangerous) cop. They join returning actors Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, and Jaime King, and new recruits Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Dennis Haysbert, and Jamie Chung. Like the last film, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller will both write and direct. [Deadline]

• Will Forte and Tim Robbins have signed up for The Switch, and in one of Hollywood’s nice little ironies, they’re taking over roles originally occupied by Ty Burrell and Dennis Quaid, respectively. Based on the Elmore Leonard crime novel of the same name, the film will serve as something of a prequel to Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) playing younger versions of Robert DeNiro and Samuel L. Jackson’s career crooks from Tarantino’s film. Robbins will play the wealthy husband of the woman (Jennifer Aniston) they kidnap, and Forte will play a man who witnesses the crime. Dan Schechter (Supporting Characters) is directing from his script. [Variety]

Read more:
Casting Net: Joseph Gordon-Levitt signs up for ‘Sin City’ 2. Plus: Hailee Steinfeld, Amber Heard join Kevin Costner thriller
Casting Net: Maggie Gyllenhaal joins Michael Fassbender’s band in ‘Frank.’ Plus: Ashley Tisdale, Stephen Lang, Vinnie Jones
Casting Net: Ricky Gervais in talks to star in ‘The Muppets’ sequel. Plus: Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Eddie Redmayne, Berenice Bejo

Ricky Gervais to star in 'The Muppets' sequel

What happens when David Brent meets Fozzie Bear?

We’ll find out when Disney’s sequel to The Muppets hits theaters. Gervais confirmed rumors via Twitter today that he will play the lead in the new film, a European adventure that is also set to star Ty Burrell as a bumbling Interpol inspector. Here’s Gervais’s tweet:

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