What do you do after you've won an Oscar for your music in a Muppets movie? Make music for the sequel, obviously. But with the March 21 release date for Muppets Most Wanted fast approaching, we want to know more about the project multi-talented actor, writer, and composer teased last year: A fairy tale musical in the vein of Jim Henson's 1986 classic, Labyrinth. I spoke to the Flight of the Concords mastermind yesterday about how the project is coming along, what to expect, and whether he can just take my money Veronica Mars-style. Here's the stuff that got me more excited than I already was:
The script he worked with James Bobin on is done. McKenzie really loves puppets:
We've finished the script. I started writing songs for a musical fairy tale. I grew up loving The Dark Crystal. That was one of the few VHSs we had. We had two - that and National Velvet. We watched The Dark Crystal a lot in my house. There's something about puppets, Muppets in particular, that are so much more interesting, fallible, and real. Obviously, they're not real, but how strange is it that a puppet can be more real than most computer animation? People are getting better at animating things with flaws, but there's something about something that's handmade that immediately gives it a life and a character that I think surpasses animation.
He denies having a title, but he's just not ready to share:
Do you have a working title for the script?
No? Just Untitled Fairy Tale, Dark Crystal, Labyrinth-like Project?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's got a long untitled title. It is exciting. I'm hoping to get that going soon.
The movie will be whimsical, big, and have a theatrical release:
How big should we expect this to be? Will it have a giant theatrical release?
Yeah, I guess so. It'll be a big movie. It's inherently quite big because of the nature of it. There's an epic quality to it. I always love being drawn into another world. What I feel like hasn't been done is that there's a lot of dark fairy tale interpretations being made, but I don't think there's a film that's been made that is playful. It's going to be a comedy fairy tale. You're going to have monsters, but they're going to sing funny songs. That excites me - like a singing dragon doing a funny song.
Here's Bret McKenzie winning his Oscar for "Man or Muppet":