I don’t often go off tilting at windmills. I’m more content to grumble and savor my disappointments like fine wine and friends still have to endure my moaning about J.J. Abrams ruining Star Trek, or why the powers that be can’t find a way to put Stargate back on TV. But I’ve limited my real yearnings to just a few things, like a campaign to get the BBC to create a Fifth Business miniseries based on Robertson Davies magnificent triology, or convince the Jim Henson Company to film The Muppets Pride and Prejudice.
In my Muppets Pride and Prejudice, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy would play Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. Just think of them saying these lines:
Mrs. Bennet (Miss Piggy): Have you no consideration for my poor nerves?
Mr. Bennet (Kermit): You mistake me, my dear. I have the utmost respect for your nerves. They’ve been my constant companion these twenty years.
If you are not rolling on the floor laughing by now, please leave. The plot, of course, still revolves about the Bennet’s two oldest daughters, who were adopted. Jane is played by the latest ingenue (Molly C. Quinn from TV’s Castle) and Elizabeth by someone like Jennifer Lawrence (Hunger Games). The younger daughters are played by younger versions of Miss Piggy (perhaps Mary would be a non Muppet for it is hard to imagine a serious minded version of Miss Piggy). It is shame that we can’t have a son played by a younger version of Kermit, but that would ruin the need for a Mr. Collins, played by none other than Fozzie Bear.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh had me stumped, but then I thought to relax the casting rules and realized Sam the Eagle … uh, Samantha the Eagle … would make a perfect Lady Catherine. Darcy and Wickham would be played by the latest Hollywood heartthrobs. Perhaps any of the current leading men named Taylor could manage Darcy’s brooding, while Tom Hiddleston (Avengers) would make a good Wickham. Or maybe the other way around. I admit my poor abilities at casting humans.
Charlotte Lucas would be played by Janice, the vocalist and guitarist from the Electric Mayhem. I admit one of the problems with Muppet casting is that there are few females in the troupe. Miss Piggy has seen to that. Muppets could also play the Gardiners (Professor Bunsen Honeydew as Mr. Gardiner?) and Caroline Bingley could be played by — well, like Amanda Price in Lost in Austen, I’ve never understood that character and am at a loss for who to play her. Perhaps it could be a running joke that Miss Piggy is playing most of the female characters, quickly changing costume when Mrs. Bennet and Caroline are in the same scene. Caroline Bingley must be played by a Muppet (it would be fun to see a Muppet fawning over Darcy); however Mr. Bingley would be played by a non-Muppet. I know that it would be unusual to re-cast an actor from a recent Muppets movie, but I think Jason Segel could manage the innocence and sweetness of Charles Bingley.
There would be music, of course, with singing cats and horses and I would love a duet between Kermit and Miss Piggy, as Mr. Bennet tries to recall why he fell in love with Mrs. Bennet, and then remembers. I’d also stick a song or two into the many country dances, where our romantic leads are trying to sing to one another, only to suddenly find themselves with a Muppet partner as they progress through the line.
Such an undertaking requires a great deal of planning and I would welcome any suggestions for casting and if you want to tweet this idea, perhaps the hashtag #MuppetsPandP would be appropriate. Perhaps Disney/Jim Henson Company will be surprised to find we’ve handed them a ready audience, a pre-selected cast and maybe even a song or two from talented Janeites who’d love to see this a reality.