The latest Muppets film, "Muppets Most Wanted," opens with a catchy and winkingly knowing tune about doing a follow-up film called "We're Doing a Sequel," which includes lyrics such as, "Everybody knows that the sequel's never quite as good." It also features a surprise cameo by Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett singing about the sequel having an abundance of "one-line cameos." And boy, they aren't kidding.
Celebrity cameos have been a Muppets staple since the early days of their TV variety show, but the latest film takes the practice to new heights. "The Muppets are so beloved, especially by comedians, it doesn't usually take a lot of convincing," producer Todd Lieberman says. And indeed "The Muppets Most Wanted" features a dizzying array of celebrity cameos with little rhyme or reason to who shows up or how. Heck, some of them don't even get close-ups. So here's a handy guide to the famous faces on parade.
The main idea behind the cameos seems to be to serve as wide an array of viewers as possible, as it's unlikely there is a moviegoer out there equally excited about seeing both WWE star Dylan "Hornswaggle" Postl and Miranda Richardson. And fans of "Teen Beach Movie" star Ross Lynch probably won't recognize "Looking" star Russell Tovey making a delivery in one scene or care that that's Frank Langella officiating a wedding.
Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett aren't the only musicians to pop up, as Josh Groban, Usher, Sean Combs and Celine Dion swing by as well. And fans of comic book movies will be happy to see both the Avengers and the X-Men represented by Tom Hiddleston and James McAvoy, respectively. And "Hunger Games" announcers Stanley Tucci and Toby Jones each get some screen time.
Fans of the work of Julian Fellowes might notice that "Downton Abbey" star Hugh Bonneville shares a scene with "Gosford Park" lackey Tom Hollander. And appearances by both Christoph Waltz and Til Schweiger make for an unlikely "Inglourious Basterds" reunion. For soccer fans, "Gooooooaaal!" enthusiast Andres Cantor pops up as an announcer. And while most of the scene-stealers technically have characters to play, Salma Hayek, Saoirse Ronan, Danny Trejo, Combs and Waltz are apparently just playing themselves.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that, for all the famous faces making appearances, there's no sign of Jason Segel or Amy Adams, the stars of the last movie, with stand-ins appearing in their place and shot from behind at the start of the new movie.
Ruffling the Coppola camp's feathers
It's not like the Muppets to take cheap shots, but in their opening "We're Doing a Sequel" song, they apparently couldn't help themselves, tossing off the lyric, "We can't do any worse than 'the Godfather III.'" So we asked "the Godfather Part III" star Andy Garcia what he thought of the gibe.
"The first two 'Godfather' movies are considered to be the two greatest movies ever made, so you have to live up to that," Garcia tells Metro. "It's not like the Muppets have to live up to another Muppet movie." Ouch.
As for how the third entry in the Corleone family legacy has aged, Garcia thinks it deserves another look. "I'm very proud of the film and I think it falls in line with the other two as the director wanted it to," he says. "What I get from people as the years pass is mostly how much they like the movie and how underrated it was. That's what I get from people on the street."