Which Cameos got cut from The Muppets!?

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Stoller and Segel’s new Muppet movie is, well, the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, muppetational movie of the year, but no doubt there will be a couple of Lady Gaga fans a little miffed to discover the disco-stick wiggler’s scene was left on the cutting room floor. Okay, nobody much cares but Moviehole’s Ash. Still, anyone out there interested in hearing which celebrities did get the chop – insert Gonzo blowing trumpet – from “The Muppets”?

The original script, then called “The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made”, went through quite a few changes before director James Bobin printed colour-coded copies of it off for the cast and crew.

Several sequences were cut straight out of the script, for scheduling or pacing reasons. Later in the editing room, time constraints saw Bobin take the scissors to some stuff he’d filmed too – and he had too, the film at that stage was over 3-hours long!

Here’s who got yanked by cane from the Muppet stage :

Paul Rudd

Probably the biggest scoring through from the film, Segel’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “Knocked Up” co-star Paul Rudd, who was originally going to play Walter when the puppet imagines himself as a human, couldn’t do the film due to other commitments.

Michael Cera, who rumour has it was also the inspiration for the Walter muppet, was asked to replace Rudd. Ultimately, a popular small screen sitcom star took on the part.

Steve Carell

This one you know about. Carell told Moviehole a couple of months back that he was asked to be a part of the film, but due to scheduling difficulties (and if you look at his upcoming slate you’ll know this wasn’t just a pilthy excuse) and Carell’s felt allergies (Okay, I made that up) “it didn’t work out”.

Carell was to play himself in a scene, set at Mc Chow’s restaurant, that had himself and several other celebrities (including Jack Black, who is in the film – but introduced in a different context) being presented with a lovely serving of…talking, moving Pepe the Prawn.

George Clooney

Clooney was asked to shoot a scene in which he’d play himself attending the premiere of “Michael Collins 2″. If there’s any reason why this was cut (and I don’t know that it made it before the cameras?) I think it’d be for the simple fact that the film’s core target market wouldn’t have gotten the joke. Interestingly enough Clooney has a few opening against “The Muppets” this weekend in the states, “The Descendants”.

Elmo

Jason Segel appeared on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show and explained what his initial plans were for the lovable red monster.

“I wrote a scene where we were trying to get Elmo to be the celebrity host of The Muppet Show, and a team of lawyers tells us no,” Segel said. “[Then] that’s what actually happened — a team of lawyers told us Elmo wasn’t available.”

Crossovers between ‘Muppets’ and “Sesame Street” characters have happened in the past (and, of course, Kermit is a star of both shows), in fact I recall seeing Big Bird on “The Muppet Show”, but seems Elmo’s handlers think their client is above joining the likes of Neil Patrick Harris and Jack Black as one of the “Muppets” many cameo players. Maybe he is?

Mel Brooks

The legendary filmmaker never filmed his cameo but on paper it was planned he’d play himself in the scene at McChow’s restaurant; he’d be one of the patrons served up a nice hot serving of talking prawn. Guessing Brooks wasn’t up to the cameo or that the sequence just didn’t sit well with Bobin.

Lady Gaga, Ed Helms, Eric Stonestreet

Stefani Germanotta’s big moment from the film was cut. With her entourage, including Ed Helms, Eric Stonestreet (who I’m told may have been replaced just before shooting) and John Krasinski, Gaga would have gone head-to-head with Miss Piggy in a sequence. Rumour has it Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ was somehow involved (which makes sense considering Piggy is the editor of Paris Vogue magazine in the film).  Guessing Gaga, who judging from the smooch she shared with Kermit at the 2009 Video Music Awards is a big ‘Muppets’ fan, is crushed she got the scissors treatment.

Danny Trejo

He’s in one of the teasers…. but that seemed to be the extent of his involvement.

Christian Bale

Bale was approached to reprise his role of the gruff-talking Batman for a scene opposite the Great Gonzo. In an earlier draft, Kermit tries to regroup the Muppets by sending out the ‘Muppet-Signal’. Naturally, a couple of superheroes answer. Gonzo. Batman. Match made in movie heaven, no!?

This would’ve been a cracker cameo had it have come off.

Since it never went before the cameras I’m guessing either Warner Bros or Christian Bale, or both, didn’t fancy the idea of The Muppets taking the mickey out of the Caped Crusader.

Kathy Griffin

It’s likely Griffin, who also had a cameo in 1999′s “Muppets from Space”, was excised from the film due to time constraints but it’s also possible Disney didn’t take too kindly to the comedienne leaking set pics from the film when it was barely mid-way thru production. Griffin shot a scene with Ricky Gervais and Scooter at a premiere/awards night.

Ben Stiller

Not quite sure what happened here, but Stiller was asked – and as far as I know, did shoot something – to cameo in the movie. Likely his scene will be on the DVD.

Mila Kunis

Segel’s “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” co-star filmed an extended cameo in the film but was extracted at the last minute. Her scene would have taken place at the Muppet Telethon.

Charles Grodin

Probably the most disappointing of the cameos left out of the film – and only because Grodin chose not to be a part of the film – was Charles Grodin’s reprisal of Nicky Holiday from “The Great Muppet Caper”. “I was in The Great Muppet Caper and I think they are bringing back those of us still alive for a reprise”, the ageing comic said a couple of years back. “Jim Henson was dear to me but I’m not flying 6000 miles to Los Angeles to work one day.” And thus, Piggy and Holiday never reunited.

Katy Perry

Another musical babe omission.  Sounding not unlike the Lady Gaga sequence, Perry would’ve appeared opposite Miss Piggy in a  musical sequence. “At one point we had squirrels singing, ‘I Kissed a Squirrel,’ or it was Miss Piggy singing ‘I Kissed A Squirrel And I Liked It.’”, writer Nick Stoller told MTV. “More and more squirrels are lining up to kiss her, and she’s getting weirded out”.

Anne Hathaway

Though Emily Blunt came aboard and spoofed her “Devil Wears Prada” character for the film, the script originally called for Anne Hathaway to reprise her role from the same film too.

Rachael Ray

In the same interview, Stoller confirmed that the cook-a-holic was high on that celebrity wish-list at one stage. “On our lists of stuff, I wanted to do something where Swedish Chef cooked with Rachael Ray. I thought that would just be hilarious,” Stoller said. “This can all be done in the future hopefully. Knock on wood. That was something that seemed really funny to us, that they cook together.”

Jean-Claude Van Damme

The scene was ultimately cut from the film anyway, so no loss, but Kathy Griffin was asked to replace Van Damme when the muscles from Brussels became unavailable (maybe the ‘Time Cop’ cut him due to time constraints!? Sorry). How anyone can consider Griffin a crafty replacement for the action legend is beyond me!? Still, would’ve been good to have seen some Van Damme and Scooter cage-fighting… or whatever.

Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau

Yep, you guessed it, the ‘money’ boys were written into that first draft as their “Swingers” characters. Much like some of the other excised jokes in the film, it just wouldn’t have worked (in fact the Bob Saget cameo that was also in that draft of the script might have worked better) for the target audience. Very dated gag, too.

And finally, go see what’s unarguably one of the best films of the year, “The Muppets”! (Read my review here)