Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey is a moving look at the creator behind one of the most beloved characters on Sesame Street. Elmo, of course, is world famous, while Kevin Clash, who gives Elmo life through movement and his voice, could walk down the street unnoticed. The film has been out for a couple of months, and finally comes to Houston thanks to the Museum of Fine Arts, running December 27-31. In anticipation, we think of behind-the-scenes films we'd like to see of famous icons and their creators.
Gollum pretty much stole Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy (sorry, Elijah Wood), thanks to the ridiculous talents of Andy Serkis, who voiced and performed the creature with the help of some CGI. Serkis recently nailed it out of the park again in Rise of the Planet of the Apes as Caesar (which even sparked Oscar buzz), but Gollum started it all. This four-minute featurette simply isn't enough, especially with the forth-coming The Hobbit epic.
Like Elmo, this Jim Henson creation is also iconic and beloved. Which is why it would be such a fascinating look. And the Muppets have enjoyed some renewed interest, thanks to Jason Segel's crack at the franchise, the simply-titled The Muppets, which, after the humans, featured a leading role by Kermit the Frog. Unlike Elmo, Kermit has been voiced by two puppeteers -- Henson himself, and, since his death in 1990, Steve Whitmire, which would make for some interesting comparisons and possible pathos on Whitmire's part. Plus, it would be just another opportunity to bask in this magical banjo tune.
Being Phillie Phanatic
One of the first mascots created for a professional baseball team, the Phanatic is in a league all its (his?) own. He's had quite the history -- getting punched in the face by Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda for one, as well as regularly dancing with other teams' players, roller skating, riding RVs, dressing as Lady Gaga and even sky diving (no surprise, the mascot's spawned a lengthy tribute reel). A rarity among sports mascots, he's been performed by only two people -- David Raymond for 15 years, and, since 1993, Tom Burgoyne. The first order of business would be explaining what, exactly, it is.
Being Big Bird
Yet another iconic Jim Henson creation and regular, beloved Sesame Street character. We think taking a look at its creation and its multiple performers would make an interesting documentary, seeing how Big Bird is one of the few Muppets portrayed through a person's full body. It's one thing to put a puppet on your hand, it's quite another to put on that 14-pound, 8-foot, 2-inch suit and striped socks and flop about.
Being Ronald McDonald
There have been a number of actors who have donned the white face paint, poofy red wig and yellow jumpsuit to become the McDonald's mascot in TV spots. And at any given moment, somewhere, somehow, an amateur is plastering that wide grin on as well. Just for the comic possibilities of having hundreds of Ronald McDonalds in a room at one time, we'd vouch for a film that explores all those various Ronalds the world over.
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