Legendary puppeteer and director, Frank Oz opens up about his rocky relationship with The Walt Disney Company in a recent interview with The Guardian.
Oz is best known for his work as the original puppeteer performer and voice of classic characters such as Yoda, Fozzie Bear, and Miss Piggy. One of Jim Henson’s closest friends and partners with the Muppets, now says Disney won’t work with him in the interview that dropped on Monday.
“I’d love to do the Muppets again but Disney doesn’t want me, and Sesame Street hasn’t asked me for 10 years. They don’t want me because I won’t follow orders and I won’t do the kind of Muppets they believe in.”
Oz has been very outspoken about Disney’s handling of the muppets over the years since the house of mouse acquired the characters back in 2004 for $75 million, after 14 years of discussions dating back to when the late Jim Henson himself was still alive. Oz revealed he does not watch current Muppets or Sesame Street projects, which he voiced Cooki Monster, Bert, and Grover. And he doesn’t hold back as to why. “The soul’s not there,” he said. “The soul is what makes things grow and be funny. But I miss them and love them.”
Oz did work with Disney in 2017 and 2019 to return as the voice of Yoda in Star Wars: The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. He also returned to voice Yoda in several Disney theme park attractions, Star Tours–The Adventures Continue and within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, as well as in the Star Wars Rebels episodes, “Path of the Jedi” and “Shroud of Darkness”.
Outside of his work as a voice actor and puppeteer, Oz also is a famed director, helming classics such as The Dark Crystal, The Muppets Take Manhattan, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and What About Bob?. His most recent film, the 2017 documentary Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched features Oz and other Muppet performers as they discuss working behind the scenes with Jim Henson and the Muppets.
You can check out the full interview over at The Guardian.