The Teletubbies Most Wanted is a 2014 British-American live-action/animated musical comedy film, and is the sequel to the 2011 film "The Teletubbies Movie". It was announced in March 2012 that Disney was moving forward on the project with James Bobin (director of The Teletubbies Movie) and Nicholas Stoller (co-writer of The Teletubbies Movie) writing the screenplay. Bobin also returned to direct the film.
Filming began in late January 2013 at Pinewood Studios in London. Principal photography in London wrapped on April 16, 2013 and filming moved to Los Angeles in May 2013.
The film, a "comedy caper" set in Europe, was released on March 21, 2014 to generally positive reviews and modest commercial success.
Following on from the ending of their last film, the Teletubbies find themselves at a loss as to what to do next ("We're Doing a Sequel"). Per the suggestion of their new tour manager Dominic Badguy, the Muppets decide to embark on a world tour. Meanwhile, Noo-Noo, the world's number one criminal and a complete dead ringer for Tinky Winky, escapes from Siberian Gulag 38B, before making contact with Badguy, who turns out to be Noo-Noo's subordinate; a position Noo-Noo frequently reminds him of.
Arriving in Berlin, the Teletubbies And Kids intend to play a shabby venue, but Badguy secures them a show at a more prestigious location. Becoming increasingly frustrated with the rest of the Teletubbies And Kids' ludicrous requests for the show and Laa-Laa's insistent hints at marriage, Tinky Winky takes a stroll to calm down at the suggestion of Badguy. However, he is ambushed by a hooded Noo-Noo, who slaps a fake mole on Tinky Winky's right cheek, making him resemble Noo-Noo. Noo-Noo escapes and Tinky Winky is arrested and taken to the Gulag in his place.
Noo-Noo meets up with the rest of the Teletubbies And Kids, all believing him to be Tinky Winky, except Mya, who bites him. Noo-Noo and Badguy review their plans ("I'm Number One"). The Berlin performance opens with Noo-Noo freezing at the sight of the large audience and Dipsy has to introduce the show. Later, Noo-Noo and Badguy sneak off to steal a selection of paintings from a nearby museum. Meanwhile, after being locked in the Gulag ("The Big House"), Tinky Winky makes multiple escape attempts, all of which are thwarted by Gulag prison guard Nadya, who then orders Tinky Winky to help organize the annual prison talent show. Reflecting on his time with the Teletubbies, Tinky Winky gains the inmates' respect. Meanwhile, on the train, Noo-Noo wins over Laa-Laa ("I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)").
The morning after the burglary, Interpol agent Jean Pierre Napoleon and CIA agent Salvatore Cagnina begrudgingly form an alliance to apprehend the culprit, who Napoleon identifies as his nemesis "the Lemur", after discovering a coin-based calling card. Following instructions hidden behind one of the stolen paintings, Noo-Noo and Badguy divert the course of the Teletubbyland tour to Madrid as part of a plot to steal the crown jewels of Great Britain. Noo-Noo informs the rest of the Teletubbies that they are permitted to perform any act they wish, much to the suspicion of Jennifer Wall.
The Teletubbies and Kids perform in Madrid whilst Noo-Noo and Badguy steal the next set of instructions to steal the crown jewels, destroying many busts in the process. In spite of a disastrous performance ("Macarena", a prolonged Electric Mayhem drum set) that puts the audience to sleep, the Muppets' performance receives critical acclaim. Salvatore and Napoleon deduce that the connection between the crimes in Berlin and Madrid is the Muppet tour, and the pair interrogates the Teletubbies - to little success ("Interrogation Song"). As the tour reaches Dublin, Jennifer Wall discovers Badguy to be paying critics to write positive reviews, and Connor Orlando realizes the resemblance between Tinky Winky and Noo-Noo. Connor and Jennifer discover that Noo-Noo is on the train posing as Tinky Winky and that Badguy is in on the scheme. Noo-Noo sees that they have found him out, and attacks them, but Mya Miller fends him off, and the three of them manage to escape by hopping on another train. They then figure that the best course of action is to go to Siberia and rescue Tinky Winky.
At the climax of their Dublin performance ("My Heart Will Go On"), Noo-Noo proposes to Laa-Laa, who accepts with the pair intending to marry at the Tower of London. Arriving in London, Noo-Noo and Badguy conspire to use the wedding as a distraction while Badguy uses a locket stolen in Dublin, with the assistance of Bobby Benson's Baby Band, to steal the crown jewels. Before the wedding, Laa-Laa contemplates her impending marriage and future with whom she assumes is her true love, Tinky Winky ("Something So Right"). Mya, Jennifer, and Mya arrive at the Gulag and inform Tinky Winky of Noo-Noo's plot. The four use the prison show ("Working in the Coal Mine") as a front to escape along with the rest of the prisoners, and they head to London, much to Nadya's dismay.
The wedding gets underway and Badguy disables the security systems to the crown jewels, successfully stealing them. Tinky Winky interrupts the wedding ceremony, revealing Noo-Noo to be nothing more than an impostor. Noo-Noo escapes with Laa-Laa as his hostage. Arriving at their helicopter, Noo-Noo comes across Badguy (revealed to be the world's number two criminal "the Lemur" while donning a lemur costume) with the Imperial State Crown, before Badguy announces his intent to double-cross Noo-Noo. Noo-Noo responds by ejecting Badguy from the helicopter and taking flight with Laa-Laa. Tinky Winky intercepts and the rest of the Teletubbies use a "Teletubby ladder" to stop the helicopter in its tracks, with the help of an irate Laa-Laa.
Noo-Noo and Badguy are arrested. After arriving in London, Nadya attempts to arrest Kermit once more for initiating the prison escape and "breaking her heart." The rest of the Teletubbies and Kids express to Nadya that if Tinky Winky is arrested. Then so shall they be. Nadya relents, deciding Tinky Winky belongs with them and drops the charges. The Teletubbyland tour concludes at the Gulag where Noo-Noo and Badguy are part of the prison show ("Together Again (Again)"). Nadya, apparently having been promised a solo by Tinky Winky, prepares to sing but is cut off by the film's "The End" logo.
Extended Version Edit
Featuring never-before-seen material that extends the film an additional 12 minutes, the following is exclusive to the version available on the two-disc Blu-ray release and Digital HD:
- Songs previously edited for time restraints (i.e. "We're Doing a Sequel", "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)", "Interrogation Song") are now fully restored.
- Scattered additional dialogue:
- Dipsy's query about Cloe Cha being able to operate a train.
- A bit where Dipsy mistakenly introduces Christoph Waltz as Australian, not Austrian.
- Dominic questioning Noo-Noo's knitting.
- Additional scenes:
- An early scene in the Gulag where guards discuss the danger of having a button that opens all cells.
- Nadya reveals Noo-Noo's backstory.
- As Nadya revels in her Tinky Winky shrine, a prisoner enters and informs her of a riot, which she shrugs off.
- A gag about needing to break the fourth wall.
- The Disney Synergy System (Bridgit Mendler, Debby Ryan, and, in uncredited cameos, Jake Short and Tyler James Williams) attending the wedding.
- As Dominic and Noo-Noo are led away in handcuffs, Dominic begins to sing a brief reprise of "I'm Number One".
Bill, Captain Pighead, Croaker, Frogs, Gil, Hobo Joe, Hobos, Howard Tubman, two Pigs and Spamela Hamderson during the wedding scene of The Teletubbies Most Wanted.
- Ricky Gervais as Dominic Badguy, Noo-Noo's henchman with dubious intentions.
- Tina Fey as Nadya, a feisty Siberian prison guard obsessed with Kermit.
- Ty Burrell as Jean Pierre Napoleon, a somewhat misguided Interpol agent.
- Cameo Performances
- Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga as themselves; seen during "We're Doing a Sequel".
- Hugh Bonneville as Irish journalist
- Jemaine Clement as Prison King
- Sean "Diddy" Combs as himself
- Mackenzie Crook and Toby Jones as Prado museum guards
- Céline Dion as Laa-Laa Fairy Godmother
- Dexter Fletcher (uncredited)
- Zach Galifianakis as Hobo Joe
- Josh Groban as Maximum security prisoner; he spends the majority of the film locked in a sweatbox until briefly being let out during the finale.
- Salma Hayek as herself; she is paired with Po during the Madrid show.
- Tom Hiddleston as The Great Escapo
- Tom Hollander as Theater manager
- Frank Langella as Beefeater vicar
- Ray Liotta as Big Papa
- Silvana Lovin (uncredited)
- Ross Lynch as Young florist
- James McAvoy as UPS guy
- Bridgit Mendler (extended version) as Disney Synergy girl #1
- Chloë Grace Moretz as Gulag newspaper girl
- Miranda Richardson as Berliner at window
- Saoirse Ronan as herself; she is dancing "Swan Lake" during the Dublin show.
- Debby Ryan (extended version) as Disney Synergy girl #2
- Til Schweiger as German cop
- Peter Serafinowicz
- Jake Short (extended version; uncredited) as Disney Synergy boy #1
- Russell Tovey as Delivery man
- Danny Trejo as Danny Trejo, a fictional version of himself.
- Stanley Tucci as Ivan, a Gulag 38B watchtower guard
- Usher as the usher
- Christoph Waltz as himself; dancing the waltz with Sweetums in the Berlin show.
- Steve Whitmire (uncredited) as Gulag prisoner
- Tyler James Williams (extended version; uncredited) as Disney Synergy boy #2
- Teletubby, Teacher, Kid And Japanese Performers
- Jeremiah Krage as Tinky Winky, Foo-Foo, Lips and The Newsman
- Rebecca Hyland as Laa-Laa
- Rachelle Beinart as Po
- Bill Barretta as Big Mean Carl, Baby Boss, Carlo Flamingo and Leprechaun Security Guard
- Nick Chee Ping Kellington as Dipsy, Bobby Benson and Wayne
- Victoria Jane as Noo-Noo
- Matt Vogel as Camilla the Chicken and 80s Robot
- Zoe Buchansky as Jennifer Wall
- Peter Linz as Manolo Flamingo
- Richard "Sal" Knapp
- Meghan Chan
- Melissa Kelly
- Saeko Matsumiya
- Connor Orlando
- Mya Miller
- Salvatore Cagnina
- Jared Morris
- Ji Wu
- Drew Turso
- Hiroki Hara
- Cloe Cha
- Jen Luna
- Sophia Chung
- Jacynth Apora
- Ethan Lee
- Kristine Wall
- Denise Riccio
- Hope DeRosa
- Vincent Loporcaro
- Hauro Nakajima
- Rebecca Gonzalez-Tabis
- Chris Luna
- Kim Mayer
- Background Muppets (non-speaking)
- Achilles the Shark, Afghan Hound, Angel Marie, Annie Sue, Armadillo, Aretha, Auburn Hair Pirate, Behemoth, Beautiful Day Monster, Bill (frog), Billy Bob the Lemur, Black Dog, Blind Pew, Blustering Bellowpane Monster, Bubba the Rat, Bulls, Brewster, Beggar, Brool the Minstrel, Cactus, Calico, Captain Pighead, Carter, Catgut, Cockatoo (extended cut), Cows, Clueless Morgan, Croaker the Frog, Danny Dino Doc, Dead Tom (as Thomas Blood), Dr. Julius Strangepork, Droop, The Early Bird, Ernst Stavros Grouper, Flaubert, Flash, Frackles, Frogs, Geri and the Atrics drummer, Gil (frog), Gorillas, Gramps, Howard Tubman, Inkspots, Jacques Roach, J. G., Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy's offspring, Koala (extended cut), Leroy the Donkey, Mad Monty, Mahna Mahna, Marvin Suggs, Mildred Huxtetter, Muppaphone, Mustache Eye Patch Pirate, Muppets Tonight Band drummer, The Mutations, Mr. Curly Twirly, Mr. Bitte, Murray the Minstrel, Nigel the Conductor, Old Tom, One-Eyed Jack, Orange Gold Cut Nosed Pirate, Pigs, Pigeon, Pokey, Polly Lobster, Purple Hair Pirate, Quongo, Rats, Red Big Lipped Pirate, Rover Joe, Sheep, Snowths, Spamela Hamderson, Spotted Dick, Thingy-Thing, Thog, Trumpet Girl, TR Rooster, Unicorn, Undertaker, Walleye Pike, Wanda, Wander McMooch, Whatnots
- Muppet captain: Bill Barretta
- Muppet designers and builders: Puppet Heap
Original Songs Edit
- "We're Doing a Sequel" - Tinky Winky, Connor Orlando, Dipsy, Laa-Laa, Jen Luna, Po and The Kids with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga
- "I'm Number One" - Noo-Noo and Dominic
- "Die Muppet Show Theme" - Die Muppets
- "The Big House" - Nadya and the Prisoners with Maximum security prisoner
- "I'll Get You What You Want (Cockatoo in Malibu)" - Noo-Noo
- "El Muppet Show Theme" - El Muppets
- "Macarena" - Piggy and the Flamingos
- "Interrogation Song" - Salvatore Cagnina, Noo-Noo, Jean-Pierre, Laa-Laa, Po and The Kids
- "I'll Make Love to You" - The Prisoners
- "I Hope I Get It" - The Prisoners and Nadya
- "My Heart Will Go On" - Laa-Laa
- "Something So Right" - Laa-Laa, Tinky Winky, and The Kids with Celine Dion
- "Working in the Coal Mine" - The Prison King and the Prisoners
- "I'm Number One (Reprise)" (extended version only) - Dominic and Noo-Noo
- "Together Again (Again)" - Tinky Winky, Laa-Laa, Connor Orlando, Noo-Noo and The Kids with Maximum security prisoner, Nadya and Company
Production And Development Edit
- When initially asked about the prospects of a sequel prior to the release of The Teletubbies Movie in November 2011, Daniel Rigby said:
- "We haven't really started thinking about a sequel yet. We're just waiting to see how this goes." When asked about making a stand-alone film rather than a direct sequel, he replied: "I think that's a little bit more Teletubby... The Great Teletubby Caper is so different from The Teletubbies Take Manhattan which is so different from The Teletubby Movie... I think that's the better approach."
- On February 13, 2012, during a British promotional appearance for The Teletubbies Movie on This Morning on ITV, Tinky Winky and Laa-Laa were asked about rumors of The Teletubby Show returning to television; Tinky Winky responded as follows:
- "If this movie does as well as we like and people want to see us, sure, we'll probably do more movies. And I mean it's nothing official - not official. But there's all this 'hush-hush Hollywood talk."
- Laa-Laa turned to Kermit to add "Well, make it official. You can do that." Tinky Winky: "Ok, it's official."
- On March 3, 2012, it was announced in Variety that James Bobin and Nicholas Stoller would pen the screenplay for the sequel.
- In a March 6, 2012, article from Guardian.co.uk, it was announced that Disney is planning an idea for a new prime-time television show featuring the Teletubbies following the upcoming success of the sequel, as well as new iPhone applications with new Teletubby content.
- In a March 14, 2012, appearance on The View, Tinky Winky and Laa-Laa were asked by Elisabeth Hasselbeck if there is going to be a sequel to The Teletubbies Movie.
- Tinky Winky responded, "Well I think there is a very good chance of that. We are happy to say, yes. Yes, we are thrilled about that."
- His remark garnered a thunderous applause from the studio audience.
- In a March 21, 2012, interview with MTV News, Tinky Winky and Jennifer talked about Daniel Rigby's departure from the franchise as they prep for The Teletubbies Movie 2.
- In a March 2012 interview, Daniel Rigby (co-writer, producer, and star of The Teletubbies Movie) said that he will not return for the sequel, stating:
- "I have handed off the Teletubbies to my writing partner [Nick Stoller] and to James Bobin. My goal was to bring the Teletubbies back and I feel like I accomplished that. I feel like they're in really good hands. But it was half a decade of my life, I just want a little breather, and I know that they're going to nail it."
- In an April 13, 2012 article from Collider.com, Stoller revealed that the film is planned to be a comedy caper, and will introduce new Teletubby characters.
- It will have a possible cameo for Jason Segel, and Disney is hoping for a Summer 2013 release.
- He and James Bobin started writing the script on the previous day.
- They wrote 13 pages after outlining the entire film over the past few weeks.
- While Stoller said the film could possibly have a cameo for Daniel Rigby, Daniel later stated that he won't appear in the film.
- At the premiere of The Five-Year Engagement, Stoller told New York Magazine that Walter will return:
- "'Walter is coming back... Come on, you saw the first one, right? The arc of the story was, 'Am I a man or a child?' Reg chose 'I am a man.' So if you were making something called The Mannets, Reg Wall would be in that. Jennifer chose to be a child. He realized he's a child.' But will Jennifer Wall be shuffled into the Teletubbies' deep bench, or will he be a plot driver in the sequel? 'He is not making a cameo,' said Stoller. 'He is heavily involved in the story.' Still, Teletubby purists shouldn't fret about the focus: "It's in the early stages, so everything could change, but right now it's a Kermit-centric story, as a lot of the original movies were."
- Tinky Winky and Laa-Laa appeared at CinemaCon on April 24, 2012, to officially announce that a new film is in development.
- The official Muppets Facebook page reported the news with a graphic.
- On October 31, it was announced that Christoph Waltz was in negotiations to star as an Interpol inspectorin a cast that also includes a "Russian femme fatale and a male lead whose intentions are always in question", along with a "slew of cameos".
- The film is to be set in Europe.
- It was reported on November 4 that producer Todd Lieberman and composer Bret McKenzie will return for the sequel, which begins filming in late January 2013 at Pinewood Studio in London.
- On December 8, it was announced that Ty Burrell would star in the film as the Interpol inspector (the role Christoph Waltz was previously in negotiations for; but declined due to scheduling conflicts).
- In a video interview posted later that month, Waltz said he'd been talking about the film again and may still appear, but "it might not be a proper part, it might just be one of these little what-they-call cameos."
- On December 16, Ricky Gervais confirmed that he would star in the film. Gervais tweeted about it:
- "I have just signed up to play the lead in the next Teletubby movie. I have the biggest trailer but Tinky Winky will spend some time in my sink." Gervais commented on his role in the film on his website, saying: "You may have read that I have accepted the lead role in the next Teletubby movie. I didn't so much accept it as jump at the chance. I f***ing love The Teletubbies. (I'll probably have to tone down my language for Disney.) We start filming in January. I can't wait. I'll be hangin' with those cuddly little critters all day."
- In a December 20 radio interview with WMMR's Preston and Steve, Bill Barretta (via phone from the film's pre-production in London) stated that Tina Fey is in negotiations to work on the project.
- He also mentioned that the producers are looking at Christmas 2013 release.
- On January 9, 2013, reports surfaced that Tina Fey was in the final negotiations to play "a Russian gulag prison guard" in the film.
- According to a January 2013 report from SlashFilm, the working title for the film is "The Muppets... Again."
- In January 2013, Disney announced a release date of March 21, 2014, for the film.
- On January 16, 2013, Ricky Gervais appeared on the British daytime television program This Morning and discussed his excitement for working with the Teletubbies.(YouTube)
- On January 22, 2013, Variety reported that Ray Liotta has been cast in a cameo role in the film.
- In a radio interview on Christian O'Connell Breakfast Show, Gervais mentioned filming a scene for the film with Christoph Waltz, confirming speculation that Waltz would still be in the film despite not playing the lead.
- On January 30, 2013, Entertainment Weekly published and exclusive "first look" at the film, featuring an interview with Tinky Winky.
- A little later the same day, the Teletubbies' UK Facebook account posted a variant Muppet cast image with writer/director Bobin standing in for Hauro Nakajima.
- On February 7, 2013, German actor Til Schweiger confirmed to media outlets that he would be filming a cameo appearance with Gervais and the Teletubbies And Kids for one day in February.
- On February 15, actress Fleur Poad (appearing in the film as "Berlin Woman") tweeted about Schweiger's time on the set.
- Eve Stewart, a production designer on the film, let it slip that she is working on a scene featuring Laa-Laay's wedding at the Tower of London.
- Bobin noted in an interview with Empire magazine that Muppeteer Louise Gold will be taking part in the film, performing one of her original Teletubby Show characters Annie Sue.
- On June 13, 2013, Disney announced that the film has been retitled "The Teletubbies Most Wanted."
- The film was officially released on March 21, 2014, in the United States and the Philippines.
Although not as well received as the first film, The Teletubbies Most Wanted still garnered positive reviews. It currently holds a 79% rating on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes; the general consensus states: "While it may not reach the delirious heights of The Teletubbies Movie, The Teletubbies Most Wanted still packs in enough clever gags, catchy songs, and celebrity cameos to satisfy fans of all ages."
The film earned $17,005,126 in its opening weekend, ranking second behind Divergent ($54,607,747) at the domestic box office. It closed on July 17; the film grossed $51,183,113 at the domestic box office and $27,000,000 internationally for a worldwide total of $80,383,113. Based on an estimated $50 million budget, this can be considered a modest box office success.
- This is Ray Liotta's second appearance in a Teletubby film; he first appeared as a gate guard in Teletubbies From Space.
- Ricky Gervais and Danny Trejo had cameos in The Teletubbies Movie that were ultimately cut.
- James Bobin is the second director to helm two Teletubby films; the first director is Brian Henson.
- At the ending of "We're Doing a Sequel", Jennifer suggests calling the film "The Guys... Again."
- This title was the film's working title throughout filming before being changed at the last minute.
- During "Something So Right", Laa-Laa imagines what she and Kermit's offspring will look like.
- This gag was originally intended to be used in The Teletubbies Movie but was deemed too complicated to be explained at the time.
- This is one of the few Teletubby films in which Tinky Winky and Laa-Laa are seen in the first scene. In most cases, Tinky Winky shows up later and Laa-Laa much later; for example, in Teletubby Treasure Island, she doesn't appear until an hour in.
- Tina Fey (Nadya) and Victoria Jane (Noo-Noo) worked with a dialect coach to prepare for their roles.
- The number of the Gulag, 38, was a reference to the number of years since The Teletubby Show premiered (1976-2014).
International Release Dates Edit
- Argentina - March 20, 2014
- United Kingdom - March 28, 2014
- Australia / New Zealand - April 3, 2014
- Netherlands - April 16, 2014
- Singapore - April 24, 2014
- Germany - May 1, 2014
- France - May 7, 2014
External Links Edit
- Muppets Most Wanted on Disney.com
- Entertainment Weekly - A first look at the Muppets sequel, 'Muppets...Again!' (1/30/13)
- Disney Press Release: "The Muppets... Again!" Kicks Off Production in London