It ain’t easy being an outspoken voice actor!
Last week, it was announced that Steve Whitmire was being replaced by Matt Vogel as the voice of Kermit the Frog.
And like all showbiz shakeups, the recasting didn’t come without some drama!
After Whitmire revealed the Muppets Studio had fired him back in October, the studio clapped back saying their “decision to part ways” was due to Whitmire’s “unacceptable business conduct.”
Muppets Studio confirmed in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
“We raised concerns about Steve’s repeated unacceptable business conduct over a period of many years and he consistently failed to address the feedback. The decision to part ways was a difficult one which was made in consultation with the Henson family and has their full support.”
Say it ain’t so, Kermy!
Days before, Whitmire hinted in blog post that his passion for maintaining the legacy of Jim Henson ultimately led to his firing.
According to the voice actor, who took over voicing Kermit after Henson’s death in 1990, ABC executives felt Whitmire was too “outspoken on character issues” during the development of The Muppets short lived TV series.
Whitmore admitted to being vocal about issues he had with the franchise since Disney acquired the studio in 2004, explaining to THR:
“The first issue was that they felt I had been ├óΓé¼╦£disrespectful’ in being outspoken on character issues with the small group of top creative people during the ABC series. I have been outspoken about what’s best for the Muppets since the Muppets came to Disney , but the fact is I have respect for everyone who was involved in the creation of that series for their own particular contributions. At the same time, I also have insight into their limitations with respect to how well they know the Muppets.”
Whitmire has been working in some capacity with the Muppets since 1978.
Vogel has been working with the franchise since the ├óΓé¼╦£90s, even playing Kermit’s doppelganger in Muppets Most Wanted.
But one thing Whitmire says Vogel will be unable to recreate is the “atmosphere” left behind by the Muppet mastermind. He wrote on his blog Sunday:
“I see my most important task as providing a taste of the atmosphere created by Jim Henson to those Post-Jim core performers who will never otherwise come by it. My hope was to install it directly into their hearts and minds so that they could, in turn, be inspired to do the same for the next generation of performers instead of the characters becoming stale copies of their former selves. But, as I look around at what is presently transpiring it’s clear to me that the job is far from done.”
Will Kermit ever be the same?