Did you stream Muppets Haunted Mansion yesterday?
The all-new spooky special starring the zany Muppets and some of their celebrity pals became available to stream yesterday on Disney+, and we’re glad because we’ve been waiting a long time for the movie to be released on the platform; it’s been 5 months since it was first announced by Disney!
But the writer and director of Muppets Haunted Mansion has waited a little longer than 5 months for the Muppets’ Halloween-themed special to come to fruition–and not just because of all the filming and editing and production that had to take place. He’s waited more than 30 years!
Kirk Thatcher started his career in the 1980s with Industrial Light and Magic, but then his attention and efforts turned to Jim Henson’s lovable (and quirky) cast of Muppets. Over the course of his career, he has wanted to do a Halloween-themed Muppets movie.
In fact, Muppets Haunted Mansion is–if he had to estimate–Thatcher’s fifth version of the horror-comedy flick with staff writer Jim Lewis. Before this version, his ideas for the movie included spoofs (of course) on classic monster films and even a film that had a Ghostbusters feel to it.
“Everyone has their approach to the Muppets,” Thatcher says. “I love seeing them in different venues; they’re like Monty Python–they do genre pictures!”
Like A Muppets Christmas Carol, the Muppets play roles in Muppets Haunted Mansion. That means that Thatcher and his crew had to cast the Muppets for certain roles.
His favorite Muppets for which to write are Gonzo and Pepe the King Prawn, but he says that’s not why they are the stars of the show. Instead, he says they project opposite responses to scary situations, which really adds to the movie.
“Gonzo is not scared,” Thatcher explains. “He thinks it’s great, and Pepe is terrified so you get that classic Hope and Crosby, Abbott and Costello–two completely different takes on what it’s like to be in a scary place.”
He had the perfect role in mind for one of the Muppets’ most famous and glamorous.
“We immediately knew Piggy had to be [Madame] Leota,” he says. “We call her Madame Pig-ota. Just the idea of Piggy being in a special being stuck in that, as she says stuck in a fishbowl was just so much comedy to be mined from.”
You can stream the Muppets’ first-ever Halloween special now on Disney+!