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?
This week, it’s Disney’s Pinocchio!
Kermit the Frog as Jiminy . . . Croaket – Kermit is absolutely, hands down, utterly, and without question, perfect to play Jiminy. Like Jiminy, Kermit has an instinctive sense of decency and what the right thing is, but often has a hard time conveying that to the people around him, especially when he has to compete with unscrupulous smooth talkers, and can come to doubt himself, but will always come through in the end. They even sort of look alike!
Fozzie Bear as Geppetto – In the Disney movie, Geppetto is portrayed as a very sweet but kinda dimwitted fellow, often comically taking forever to realize something obvious right in front of his face. Perfect role for Fozzie.
Miss Piggy as The Blue Fairy – You gotta have Miss Piggy for the role of the beautiful fairy (though she probably wouldn’t manage the entrance nearly as gracefully).
Pepe the Prawn as Honest John – Pepe seems like exactly the sort who would lure young boys away from school and responsibilities with the promise of fun . . . and that came off way creepier than I meant it to. But then, lots of stuff in Pinocchio is way creepier than you’d expect.
Link Hogthrob as Stromboli – Link’s egotistical actor role isn’t that far a leap from Stromboli’s showmanship, taking credit for being a master puppeteer even as Pinocchio does all the work. Though he’d be less outwardly cruel and overbearing, and more be completely oblivious and uncaring to how he’s treating Pinocchio.
Uncle Deadly as The Coachman – Only the sinister Uncle Deadly is fit to play possibly the most evil villain in all the Disney Animated Canon.
Rizzo the Rat as Lampwick – It’s gotta be Rizzo. They’ve both got that 20th Century, New York City tough guy voice and shtick going on.
Animal as Monstro – Who else to play a character who’s essentially just an enormous, gaping, hungry mouth?
and as Pinocchio:
Our Very Special Guest, Mr. Charlie Day! – Pinocchio is a living puppet, but if all the other characters are also being played by puppets, then to make Pinocchio stand out, you need to have him be played by the one human actor in the cast. I considered suggesting an actual child actor, but that might make some of the more frightening scenes too real. So instead, let’s go with an adult actor who’s terrific at playing characters with a manic, childlike energy, and just lean into the absurdity of the whole thing.
Those are my picks for a Muppet rendition of Pinocchio. What are yours?