London locations double for Europe in The Muppets Most Wanted
Date posted: 26.03.2014
Last year London played host to everyone's favourite frog when the Muppets headed to the capital to shoot their latest film Muppets Most Wanted – an action packed sequel to 2011's award-winning The Muppets, in UK cinemas from Friday.
Over 20 London locations helped form the backdrop to this crime farce, loosely based on Jim Henson's own second feature, 1981's The Great Muppet Caper.
Picking up where their successful reunion in 2011 left off, The Muppets Most Wanted finds Kermit and friends at the height of their career. Enter sinister tour manager Dominic Badguy (Ricky Gervais), who persuades the gang to go on a European tour.
From London to... London
The caper might take The Muppets across Europe, but the crew barely had to leave London. Alongside set work undertaken at Pinewood Studios, the capital's diverse locations along with a little bit of Disney magic provided a wealth of worthy doubles for Berlin, Madrid and Dublin.
First stop Berlin, where Kermit is kidnapped by his doppelganger Constantine - an evil frog in cahoots with Dominic Badguy - who then adopts the frog's identity and takes to the stage in his place.
Site of the Kermit frog-napping and Constantine's first performance with The Muppets, Berlin forms an important source of action in The Muppets Most Wanted. But much of what you see on screen is closer to your doorstep than you might think.
That quintessentially Berlin street you see is actually Greenwich Naval College. The fancy restaurant? London's own Rivoli Ballroom. Those Berlin theatres? You wouldn't know it but they're actually Wyndam's Theatre near Leicester Square and Wilton's Music Hall in Tower Hill.
It's during the Muppets' show in Madrid that Constantine and Badguy get their hands on the instructions to steal the Crown Jewels. Meanwhile a performance that sends the audience to sleep receives rave reviews and raises the alarm that something is up.
But the Madrid Museum at which Badguy and Constantine find those crucial instructions isn't as Spanish as it seems - it's actually the Freemasons Hall, on Long Acre in Covent Garden. And that theatre where the soporific performance takes place isn't Madrid at all, it's Richmond Theatre, a beautiful Victorian gem in London.
It's as the tour hits Ireland's capital that Muppet superfan Walter realises Badguy has been paying for good reviews and Fozzie Bear spots that his old friend Kermy is behaving strangely. The two join Animal (who figured it all out ages ago) in confronting Constantine and head off to rescue the real Kermit while the rest of the Muppets take to the stage in Dublin where the evil frog proposes to Miss Piggy.
The stop in Dublin is a vital part of this farce, but much of the beautiful city has been recreated in London. One New Change and Lincolns Inn stand in for Dublin streets, while the theatre of the dramatic proposal is not in Ireland at all but is in fact Trinity Square in Tower Hill. The bank vault meanwhile is the striking Clerkenwell House of Detention catacombs.
With so many London locations used for the shoot it is perhaps only appropriate that the action culminates in the capital when Kermit and friends arrive at the Tower of London just in time to expose Constantine as an impostor.
See the action for yourself
The Muppets Most Wanted is at cinemas across London from Friday. Find your local screening
Inspired by these locations? Find out about filming in London