1 The Muppet Mindset: Muppet Performer Nathan Danforth's Memories of THE MUPPETS

Mar 23, 2012

Muppet Performer Nathan Danforth's Memories of THE MUPPETS

Ryan Dosier - Today we've got a really great article from an even greater guy. My friend Nathan Danforth is an extremely talented puppeteer who had the amazing opportunity of working on The Muppets last year as a background and sometimes featured performer. I met Nathan at the post-screening party in Los Angeles after the cast and crew screen of The Muppets in early November. It was such a whirlwind of a weekend that Nathan and I didn't have too much time to chat, but we stayed in contact over email and we've finally managed to get a little something written out about Nathan's amazing experiences on the film. If you have any other questions for Nathan, email them to me at muppetmindset@gmail.com and perhaps another interview will be in order! Enjoy.

Nathan Danforth - My experience was amazing and magical. To be on a Muppet set was a dream come true, and to puppeteer alongside such greats as Steve Whitmire, Dave Goelz, Bill Barretta, Peter Linz, Tyler Bunch, Matt Vogel, Eric Jacobson, David Rudman, and the list goes on, was truly one of the greatest moments of my life. 

So many people were involved in this film, and I have to give the biggest thanks to Jason Segel. Jason and I hit it off after he discovered I was a puppeteer while I was working valet 3 years ago. We started talking about Muppets and exchanged info, laughed and discussed possible projects, and he called me to assist him on The Late Late Show while performing "Dracula's Lament." We then did How I Met Your Mother, and soon after called me for The Muppets. If it was not for him, I would not be where I am today. I love that man.

The first day I walked onto set, I was honestly captivated and star struck. Right in front of me was Kermit and Gonzo just having a conversation, discussing the scene, and so forth. I was very nervous to just be in the room with all these fantastic people, including some puppeteers I had worked with before at Swazzle and The Jim Henson Company. 

The first scene I filmed was the office scene where Kermit and the gang are trying to sell the show. My character I got to perform... SWEDISH CHEF! Holy felt fun! I was so excited and nervous, but just enjoyed every second. What was going to be one day, turned into four months on set, helping out with the Muppet Workshop in between assisting and puppeteering with the Muppet greats.

As time went on, I became very close to Matt Vogel, Tyler Bunch, and Peter Linz. All three very much took me under their wing and started to train and work with me more. They are not only more than perfect puppeteers and performers, but to me just perfect and loving people. Matt allowed me to puppeteer Sweetums throughout the movie as he was puppeteering his other amazing characters. 

I feel like one of the most memorable moments for me was when I puppeteered Sweetums, running down the street after the Rolls Royce leaves the used car lot, re-creating such a legendary scene from The Muppet Movie. Matt... thank you!! The second most amazing moment was singing the "Rainbow Connection" as Sweetums up on stage with the whole Muppet gang! I cried mid filming; thank god nobody could see my face!

The movie was so professionally shot and the Muppeteers are such a fun and loving group of people. It was very much a Master class for me, being able to study and mimic and take in every little movement and character development.

I am very much excited to see what the future has in store for the Muppets, for the wonderful puppeteers, for Jason, and hopefully... for me.
Special thanks to my pal Nathan Danforth for the incredible pictures and sharing his wonderful story. I'm so thrilled to be able to share it!






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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