Frank Oz Reveals Why He Turned Down ‘The Muppets’
Frank Oz was one of Jim Henson's closest creative partners, beginning in Oz played Bert to Henson's Ernie on Sesame Street, and he also performed. Jim Henson and Frank Oz - Jim Henson created, performed, and voiced many of the most popular Muppets, such as Kermit the Frog. Read about Muppeteers. Secrets of the Muppets and Sesame Street From Frank Oz, the Man It was there that we caught up the late Jim Henson's creative partner to.
Frank Oz - Wikipedia
I was kind of aware of it. My job is to touch people with the characters. It comes from the writers and Jim being a citizen of the world. If I was fortunate enough to help that community, all the better. All these years, I put my nose to the grindstone and worked.
I guess the legacy is really Jim—having fun and doing work. I wonder if kids growing up today appreciate how important the Muppets were to children from my generation, in the 80s. Each generation has its own significant performers. When kids or teenagers look at it now, it tends to hold up pretty well.
I did—the first 15 minutes. Why did you stop? There was a purity in each character that was vital. It was cancelled quickly.
My brothers, my sisters, were in there [as the puppeteers]. They did the very best they could. But essentially, they were working with scripts that other people wrote. They had to do it the way it was.
If it was given more air and they trusted the performers, as we had air, it would have come alive more. I think there were some very funny things individually. And the purity of certain characters stayed. I got to hand it to Disney—they tried. Disney and all these people are trying to do the right thing.
A Theory About Muppet Master Frank Oz
But being a fan of it and driving it are different things. Would you ever go back? I was doing a couple days a few years ago at Sesame Street. I worked a certain way; I work with the abandon that Jim taught me. As far as working with the guys, I love working with them, but not all the time.
I miss my characters. Was it hard to transition from being a puppeteer to a director?
Why doesn't Frank Oz perform with the Muppets anymore?
Dave Goelz71 seen sharing trade secrets with The Great Gonzosays the relationship between Henson and Oz was the foundation of the entire Muppet universe. In an interview, Goelz explains how their strengths and weaknesses balanced each other out like two old bedroom-sharing "Sesame Street" buddies.
Jim had a visual sense, Frank a character one. They were each able to do both, but generally, it was an outgrowth of their personalities best represented in Ernie and Bert. One of the funniest things I was told is that there was a brief period when they tried flipping the characters to play against type.
I wish there was footage of those rehearsals. He was really insecure.
A Theory About Muppet Master Frank Oz | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian
Frank became my mentor, coached me for a couple of years and gave me a great piece of advice. Just let it happen. I remain one until this day. When I started conceptualizing this show, which is about identity and being labeled as one thing, there was only one director because everyone has a different vision of what Frank is.
Finding your truth, your answers, not his, will be more real and authentic than his solution. We had the hardest time working with him.
- Frank Oz on the Legacy of Jim Henson’s Muppets
- How Muppets Work
Frank felt he had to make every decision, dictate every tiny detail, and he micromanaged our performances. Not sure I should say it, but Jim was as frustrated as the rest of us. Now, Frank is a great collaborator.