Here’s another round of Muppet Casting, where we take a famous movie and ask, if the Muppets made their own version of the movie (in the vein of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island), which Muppets would you cast in the lead roles?
This week, we’re doing a movie that’s a both a little more and a little less in the Muppets’ comfort zone: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
For many of my casting picks, instead of giving an explanation for why they should have the part, I’m going to post a couple lines said by the character, and if you imagine those lines coming out of the Muppet’s mouth, I think you’ll see why I made my selection.
Kermit the Frog as President Merkin Muffley – “One of our base commanders, he had a sort of . . . well, he went a little funny in the head. Y’know, just a little . . . funny. And he went and did a silly thing. Well, I’ll tell you what he did. He ordered his planes . . . (gulp) . . . to attack your country. Well, let me finish, Dmitri. Let me finish, Dmitri. Well, listen, how do you think I feel about it!?” And, of course, “You can’t fight in here! This is the War Room!”
Fozzie Bear as General Buck Turgidson – “Mr. President, I’m not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed. But I do say, no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops.”
Miss Piggy as The Russian Ambassador – No particular lines jump to mind here, but Miss Piggy definitely has the right attitude for the part.
Scooter as One of the Other Guys in the War Room – There are several characters in the War Room scenes who get one or two lines, but never say or do anything memorable . . . perfect for Scooter!
Sam the Eagle as General Jack Ripper – “I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids!” “I first became aware of it, Mandrake . . . during the physical act of love.”
Kermit the Frog (again) as Mandrake – Like Peter Sellers in the original, have Kermit do double duty with this role and the President’s. I really can’t think of any Muppet who’d be better as the terrified straight man to General Ripper.
Rizzo the Rat as Colonel “Bat” Guano – “You wanna know what I think? I think you’re some kind of deviated prevert. I think General Ripper found out about your preversion, and you were organizing some kind of mutiny of preverts.”
Gonzo the Great as
Slim Pickens Major Kong – “(riding a nuclear bomb to the ground) YaaaaaHOO!”
And, finally, we get to the title character:
Bunsen & Beaker as Dr. Strangelove & His Assistant – While Kermit can play both the President and Mandrake like Peter Sellers did, he does not have the range to play Strangelove. I’m also aware there’s a Muppet called Dr. Strangepork, but while he has the name, no Muppet is a better fit than Dr. Bunsen Honeydew. And if Bunsen is Strangelove, then you have to give him Beaker playing an assistant who pushes his wheelchair around and gets attacked by Strangelove’s out-of-control hand. I’d even give Beaker a modified version of the last line of the movie: “I have a plan . . . Mein Fuhrer! I can talk!”
Those are my picks for a Muppet version of Dr. Strangelove. What are yours?