It’s time for another round of Muppet Casting, where we take a famous movie and ask, if Jim Henson’s Muppets made their own version of it (in the vein of The Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island), which Muppets would you cast in the lead roles?
Fozzie Bear as Macbeth – Let’s get the most controversial choice out of the way first. I know some people will say Kermit should get the lead role, and others that a role as bloodthirsty as Macbeth isn’t a good fit for the usually sweet natured Fozzie. But if you look at the interactions between Macbath and Banquo, Macbeth is clearly the Fozzie to Banquo’s Kermit. Macbeth is ultimately a guy who gets too excited when a great opportunity seems to present itself, and he mangles and mismanages that opportunity until it blows up in his face. That is a very Fozzie thing to do.
Miss Piggy as Lady Macbeth – If Fozzie as Macbeth is a controversial choice, Miss Piggy as Lady Macbeth will probably be as close to unanimous as you can get. Not only is Piggy’s ambitious nature and knack for shifting between cloying encouragement and hard-nosed ruthlessness a great fit for the character, but we’re talking about (with the possible exception of Juliet) the most sought after female role in all of Shakespeare; Miss Piggy would simply not let anyone else have the role. The only way casting someone else would work is if you went meta with the whole thing and the movie actually becomes about Piggy bumping off the actress playing Lady Macbeth (as well as a few understudies) to get the part for herself.
Kermit the Frog as Banquo – As I mentioned, Banquo is clearly the Kermit to Macbeth’s Fozzie, a close friend who offers his pal encouragement while still trying to make him be reasonable and not mess things up for himself. I expect some won’t like the fact that my casting has Miss Piggy romantically linked with Fozzie instead of Kermit, but Kermit as Banquo can let you add a bit of something in that vein. In the play, Lady Macbeth goes from encouraging her husband’s murderous plans to being appalled by them when he tells her of his plan to kill Banquo and his son. It’s not much, but performances of Shakespeare have made more out of less subtext. Plus, Kermit as Banquo leads nicely into:
Robin as Fleance (Banquo’s Son) – Whichever Muppet plays Banquo needs to have another Muppet play his young son. While Robin is supposed to be Kermit’s nephew, it wouldn’t be the first Muppet production that had Robin play Kermit’s character’s son.
Our Very Special Guest, Mister Christopher Walken! as Duncan (King of Scotland) – Christopher Walken doing Shakespare, good. Christopher Walken interacting with Muppets, great. Christopher Walken doing both, I have to assume amazing. And I think you need to have a human playing Duncan, because him leaving blood on the knives used to kill him is important, and having a Muppet in the role would raise the question of whether Muppets have blood.
Gonzo the Great as Malcolm & Donalbain (Duncan’s Sons) – While Duncan has two sons who stand to inherit the throne, Donalbain doesn’t really do much of anything, and if you just merge them into one character played by Gonzo, the one scene where Malcolm and Donalbain talk to each other can be written off as Gonzo talking to himself because, well, he’s Gonzo (especially if you make it a joke that when saying Malcolm’s lines he talks about fleeing to England, and when saying Donalbain’s lines he talks about fleeing to Ireland, with the reveal that he actually fled to, let’s say, Topeka, Kansas). I went with Gonzo because of that bit where Malcolm tells Macduff how sinful he’s been and is in no position to claim the throne, then turns around and goes “Just kidding!” While in the play this is meant as a serious test of character, it would also work well as just Gonzo doing something zany.
Sam the Eagle as Macduff – Few other Muppets have the right serious, no-nonsense persona needed for Macduff. Plus, since Sam is an eagle, you can do a little riff on Macduff’s famous line. When Macbeth taunts him by saying no man of woman born can kill him, Sam as Macduff can retort, “Macduff, from his mother’s egg, was hatched!”
Rizzo the Rat as The Porter – A lower class character who doesn’t really affect the plot but makes a lot of crude comments for comedic effect. Seems perfect for Rizzo.
Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem as The Murderers – There’s always been something a little bit on the sketchy side about the Electric Mayhem. If you went through the Muppet Show cast looking for ne’er-do-wells who wouldn’t mind doing some wet work for a little extra pay, they’d be my choice.
Statler & Waldorf as The Witches – Old people who stand apart from the rest of the cast and make a number of taunts about their future, even involving some wordplay. Gotta be Statler & Waldorf. I can just imagine them letting out a big “Doh ho ho ho ho!” over that whole “no man of woman born” thing.
Those are my picks for a Muppet version of Macbeth. What are yours?