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 The Godfather!
Miss Piggy as Santino “Sonny” Corleone – It doesn’t jibe with the Mafia’s patriarchal gender politics, but no other Muppet seemed quite right for Sonny’s brash, hot-headed, and violent behavior.
Fozzie Bear as Fredo Corleone – A sweet guy, but far too much of a dope and a pushover, someone who should have never been part of this cutthroat organized crime business. Fozzie would be perfect in the part.
Robin as Michael Corleone – I considered Kermit for this part, I really did, because Kermit is almost always the leading man. But given how important it is that Michael starts out as the youngest of the Corleone sons, and the one who has no involvement in the family’s illegal enterprises, I felt casting Robin would really help get that youth and innocence across . . . and make what becomes of him over the course of the movie extra tragic.
Kermit the Frog as Tom Hagen – If Kermit’s not Michael, then I feel like he should be Consigliere Tom Hagen, the guy who’s always trying to help and advance the most practical and realistic ideas for what to do, but is frequently ignored by those around him.
Bobo the Bear as Luca Brasi – The big guy, the muscle, who still finds himself adorably fumbling his way through a social interaction. I can definitely picture Bobo awkwardly saying, “May her first child be a masculine child!”
Rowlf the Dog as Peter Clemenza – Clemenza is probably the friendliest, funniest, and least phased by all the bloodshed going on of all the Corleone retinue. He’s basically the Corleone kids’ cool uncle. Rowlf would be perfect for that.
Rizzo the Rat as Virgil “The Turk” Sollozzo – While Rizzo isn’t traditionally a villain, per se, he definitely has a much lower sense of honor than the other Muppets, and has quite a bit of greed going on. Sollozzo’s backstabbing and hunger for expansion wouldn’t seem all that out of place coming from Rizzo.
Statler, Waldorf, Pops, & Uncle Deadly as The Heads of the Five Families – During the big Five Families conference, you need a bunch of other old guys filling out the table. The sinister Uncle Deadly should probably be Barzini, the mastermind behind the movie’s plot. Pops would probably work best as the clearly-just-a-stooge Tattaglia. And Statler & Waldorf can round out the ranks, making a lot of snarky remarks about all the others.
and in the role of Don Vito Corleone:
Yoda! – While not technically a Muppet, I figure if I can occasionally borrow the Sesame Street puppets, I can do the same for a Star Wars puppet. The Don needs to be an old guy who’s wise and authoritative, relatively kind but far from a pushover, and is looking to prepare his protege for the struggles he’ll face after his death. Imagining Vito’s scenes, but with Yoda in his place . . . it just feels right.
Those are my picks for a Muppet rendition of The Godfather. What are yours?