Thinking about whom you might model your Muppet creation after isn’t so simple. But the creators of the new movie had a solution to the issue, giving the new Walter Muppet a nod to young actor Michael Cera.
With actor, massive Muppet fan and writer Jason Segel joining together with other Muppet masterminds to develop an entirely new Muppet, giving it a persona proved simple enough. Once the dark, floppy-haired Walter — really, just like Segel in that both Walter and Segel love the Muppets beyond comprehension — had a look, they told Walter’s puppeteer Peter Linz to give Walter a bit of Cera spark.
Cera was reportedly considered for the role as Walter’s puppeteer, but he isn’t a puppeteer at all, so the role went to the veteran puppet man Linz. That didn’t keep the Muppet brain trust from infusing a bit of Cera, who serves as a quiet star of Arrested Development and Juno, into the new movie.
Getting to that stage, though, wasn’t a one-step process. The New York Times reports that creators went through 14 different versions of a basic form to Walter and then 25 different aspects of color, ears, nose, hair, etc. before arriving on a simplified, lovable final version that actually has a structural nod to Kermit — Walter’s hero.
When Linz went for his second audition as the man behind Walter, “they told me to think about Michael Cera — that if he was a puppeteer, he would already have the job.” The spirit of Cera lives on in Walter. The new Muppet.