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John Landis and Henson performers

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by ScottMonster, Jun 7, 2003.

  1. ScottMonster

    ScottMonster New Member

    I was just wondering if anyone knew why there seems to have been such a close professional association between between film director John Landis and many of the Henson performers, at least there definitely was during the 80's and early 90s. To clarify, consider the fact that Frank Oz had minor roles quite a few Landis films. He played a police sargeant in Trading Places, a coroner in Innocent Blood, He also had a dual role of sorts in An American Werewolf In London playing an American embassy representative in Britain...and then there was also a "dream" scene in that movie where the leading character dreams he's at home with his family and his two younger siblings are in front of the TV watching Kermit and Miss Piggy (Oz) aruge on an episode of The Muppet Show. (not a very pleasant scene, I might add.)

    Also: the late Richard Hunt, also had a small role in Trading Places playing a stock broker. And Landis himself though he usually was behind the camera, also had an even smaller acting role in The Muppets Take Manhattan where he played a producer who after receiving a script from Kermit, promptly tosses it in a wastebasket without even looking at it.

    These are the ones that immediately come to mind and this would indicate a strong working relationship, at least at one point between Landis and the Henson staff and I was just wondering what the reasons for this might have been if any of you know.
  2. matleo

    matleo Active Member

    Landis and several other directors, wil often keep a kind of safety net on many of their films. They'll put people who they like and who they are close to and comfortable with in small roles in their films whenever and wherever they can. (For example, Hector Elezando appears in ALL of Garry Marshall's films) Frank is on Landis's safety net list. He just likes to put Frank in his films cause they get along. So when Landis has a good jerk in his script he casts Oz. I have a quote from a magazine somewhere around where Oz talks about this. Anyway, when Oz made his solo driectorial debut with MTM, he put Landis in as kind of a thank you. hope this helps. if I find that quote from Oz, I'll post it.

    --Matt
  3. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    It's in the Star Wars Insider issue with the large Darth Maul face on the front. In the article "The Blizzard of Oz." I remember reading that in there. It's a good article.
  4. Fozzie Bear

    Fozzie Bear Active Member

    Might also have had something to do with connections. IE, Muppets on SNL, appearances in a lot of Dan Aykroyd films, Bernie Brillstein was the agent of lots and lots of stars...yep, connections! That's the ticket into the world of showbiz.
  5. ScottMonster

    ScottMonster New Member

    Thanks for the info!

    And what Fozzie said actually did cross my mind as a possibility that a number of former SNL stars like Dan Akroyd, Chevy Chase, Eddie Murphy and the Belushi brothers have appeared appeared in a number of Landis'films probably had something to do with it. With the exception of Eddie Murphy, all the above were veterans of SNL's first season which also had the "Land Of Gorch" Muppet skits. It's pretty well known that the SNL writers hated them, in fact I seem recall reading somewhere (forget exactly where) that one former SNL writer of the time admitted they had Ernie and Bert dolls in their office tied together with a hangman's noose. The cast however didn't seem to have the same visceral hatred of them, and a few of them even liked them. Who was it that referred to them as "the mucking fuppets"?
  6. matleo

    matleo Active Member

    Belushi. He hated them. Really hated them. If you watch the closing credits of one episode (I don't remember who was the guest) but Belushi lunges for Ploobis at one point and jane Curtain, Chevy, and Danny grab him and hold him back. And I always got the impression that Chevy wasn't always the most respectful of them either.

    Also I looked for that interview. it's not in the Blizzard of Oz. i think it's actually form the intervies that MC's own ken Plume did with Oz for ignfilmforce. I don't have the link off hand but maybe Phil or somepne else will post it. or I may go looking for it later on if I get bored.

    --Matt


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