When picking a director for the first feature film starring The Muppets since 1999’s Muppets from Space, it’s essential that the chosen helmer has not only the skill to pull off the production, but an affection and respect for the material that fans of the felted ones will be able to see and feel. The Muppets hit the jackpot with director James Bobin, a Muppets super-fan who also has a background in song, dance, comedy, and all that jazz. Who else would understand the essential element of The Muppets – believing that it’s all real? The Muppets is Bobin’s first feature film, but the British director has earned his stripes with some seminal television series – writing and directing Da Ali G Show and creating (along with writing, directing, and producing) Flight of the Conchords. He’s also been nominated for a BAFTA and a Writers Guild of America Award, along with notching no less than eleven Emmy nominations for his work. I sat down with the very excited and very genuine director to talk about The Muppets, starring an all-new Muppet (Walter) and centering on his journey to something close to Bobin’s heart – becoming a part of the, ahem, fabric that is the Muppets. After the break, Bobin discusses how his television background helped him launch a full-scale Muppet movie, his favorite Muppets to work with, treating the material with the utmost respect, and how to build that believable world from five feet off the ground.