Ricky Gervais confirmed for new Muppets movie

Ricky Gervais’s ongoing attempt to present himself as a cuddly Hollywood-friendly comic actor continues with confirmation that he is lined up to star in the next Muppets movie. The film starts shooting in 2013.

The return of the Muppets to the big screen was regarded as something of a gamble but the immense box-office success of the film, which raked in $150 million worldwide, ensured that a sequel would be inevitable. Gervais featured in a cameo appearance in the film, but the scene ended up on the cutting-room floor.

Much of the success of the Muppets film could be attributed to the contributions of Jason Segal who wrote the script and took the central role. The music was also a key factor. The song ‘Man or Muppet’, written by Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame, won the Oscar for best song. McKenzie will write the songs for the new film, rumoured to be set in Europe.

Confirming his involvement on Twitter, Gervais joked, "I have the biggest trailer but Kermit will spend some time in my sink." It will be Gervais’s first role since The Invention of Lying in 2009, a film that was greeted with mixed reviews.

Gervais had an uneven 2012, having to fend off suspicion and some critical flak for his sitcom Derek about a vulnerable care-home worker. Some found it cynical and offensive. "Offence is the collateral damage of free speech," he told blogger Nicky Clark. "I hate the thought of a person's ideas being modified or even hushed up because someone somewhere might not like to hear them."

It would seem that Gervais is trying to juggle two contrasting careers: the edgy and provocative comic in the UK and the family-friendly funny man in Hollywood. Just don’t try any of the offensive stuff with Miss Piggy Ricky, or you can expect a karate chop to the throat.

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