Feature films directed by Frank Oz.
The Dark Crystal was co-directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz.
Jen, a Gelfling raised in solitude by a race of the peace-loving wizards called the Mystics, embarks on a quest to find the missing shard of the Dark Crystal, restore the balance of the universe, and defeat the evil Skesis.
The Muppets Take Manhattan is the third feature film starring The Muppets, and the first film directed solely by Frank Oz.
After graduating college, the Muppets travel to Manhattan in an attempt to find a producer for their Broadway musical "Manhattan Melodies".
Little Shop of Horrors was turned into a film, directed by Frank Oz in his first non-Henson directorial job.
The film starred Rick Moranis as Seymour Krelborn, Ellen Greene as Audrey, Vincent Gardenia as Mr. Mushnik, and Steve Martin in an acclaimed turn as sadistic dentist Dr. Orin Scrivello, D.D.S.. Also in the cast were John Candy (as radio host Wink Winkenson), Miriam Margolyes (as a dental nurse), Kerry Shale (as a Life Magazine flunky), and Danny John-Jules (as a doo-wop singer).
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, a 1988 loose remake of the 1964 comedy Bedtime Story, was Frank Oz's second non-Henson directorial project.
The film starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin as competing con artists at the French Riviera, out to score a soap heiress (Glenne Headley). Miles Goodman provided the score and Louis Zorich played a Greek millionaire.
“ Martin's sole redemption in this dark period was last year's cameo in the funky film version of Little Shop of Horrors. As a sadistic biker/dentist on a heavy Elvis trip, Martin was all crotch thrusts and glib swirls. He hurled his body across the screen with exhilarated abandon, clearly delighted that director Frank Oz, the man behind the Muppets (he invented Miss Piggy), had given him so much leeway to go berserk. Now Martin and Oz are reunited in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.... Oz has urged from Martin a performance that makes good on the Little Shop teaser; physically deft and verbally sharp, Martin does his best work since All of Me. ”
What about Bob?
What About Bob? is a 1991 comedy film directed by Frank Oz, starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss.
When the extremely neurotic Bob Wiley (Murray) turns up at the door of successful psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Dreyfuss), the shrink offers Bob a copy of his new book and heads off on vacation. Bob finds out where the good doctor is vacationing, and pays his family a visit. They all welcome him into their holiday home despite Leo's protests, and slowly but surely, Bob begins to drive Leo mad. Fran Brill played the role of Lily Marvin and Miles Goodman provided the score.
Jim Henson Productions receives a "Special Thanks" credit at the end of the film.
HouseSitter, a 1992 romantic comedy film, was Frank Oz's third non-Henson directorial project. The film is about a con artist named Gwen Phillips (Goldie Hawn) who moves into the home of an architect named Newton Davis (Steve Martin) and begins to pose as his wife. Miles Goodman provided the score.
The Indian in the Cupboard is a theatrical film based on a 1980 children's book of the same name. The story focuses on a young boy, Omri, who receives a magic cupboard through which he can bring his toy figures to life. He does so, beginning with an Native American figure named Little Bear, but soon finds that his "toys" have lives of their own and that there's a great responsibility involved.
Though uncredited, Jim Henson's Creature Shop worked on a couple of sequences involving a pet rat.
In & Out
In & Out is a 1997 romantic comedy film directed by Frank Oz and starring Kevin Kline, Joan Cusack, Matt Dillon, Tom Selleck, Debbie Reynolds, Bob Newhart, and Wilford Brimley. Whoopi Goldberg, Glenn Close, and Jay Leno appear as themselves in cameo roles, and Kate McGregor-Stewart played Aunt Becky.
The film became one of mainstream Hollywood's few attempts at a comedic "gay movie" of its era, and was widely noted at the time for a 10-second kiss between Kevin Kline and Tom Selleck.
Down and out filmmaker Bobby Bowfinger is desperate for a hit movie -- so desperate that he tells a big-shot Hollywood producer that he has international star Kit Ramsey lined up to star in his next effort, Chubby Rain. He wins a distribution deal on the back of this, but when Ramsey turns the film down, Bowfinger is forced to fake his way through production, shooting the unsuspecting star as he goes about his daily business and utilizing a nerdy body double. Also in the cast were Robert Downey, Jr. (as Jerry Renfro) and Phill Lewis (as an auditioning actor).
“ One of the reasons that the script was endearing to me is I started out with a group called "Muppets" - and I'm still part of the Muppets, I just don't perform that often - and we were just four people about thirty-five years ago, and we were on the fringes also. And Jim Henson wanted to shoot a movie called Timepiece which eventually won an Academy Award nomination. But he didn't have the money or the time. And we did it on weekends for a year. The four of us grabbing an old camera with a D.P. who did commercials. We would just go around, I remember, just like Bowfinger. So, I lived through that. And it was a very evocative thing to do that. To see the script that way. ”
On-set differences between Marlon Brando and Frank Oz were widely reported throughout the media prior to the film's release. According to several reports, Brando's eccentric behavior on set included (but was not limited to) performing scenes in his underwear and altogether refusing to be directed by Oz at times, having co-star Robert DeNiro take over with Oz instructing via an assistant director (though Oz flatly denied this allegation) . When working with Oz, Brando would condescendingly refer to him as Miss Piggy and was quoted by TIME Magazine as saying "I bet you wish I was a puppet so you could stick your hand up my ass and make me do what you want."
Despite these reports, Frank Oz has played down the conflict: "He's a very sweet, gracious -- childlike in some ways -- very, very humane, very complex person," Oz said of Brando, taking unspoken note of the reported tension on the movie's Montreal set. "But I can't say that we got along all the time. And it wasn't because he was difficult; it was a difficult situation.
"I don't want to do a puffery piece here, I want to be flat-out true: We had a difference in creative interpretation of the role. He felt one way, quite sincerely and earnestly, and I felt the other, and the producers backed me, which I'm grateful for, and Marlon did come around to my side."
The Stepford Wives
The Stepford Wives, directed by Frank Oz, is a 2004 remake of the 1975 dark comedy of the same name. The effects laden film substituted CG for puppetry in depicting the robotized spouses. The film starred Nicole Kidman and also featured Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Glenn Close, Roger Bart, Faith Hill and Jon Lovitz. Karen Prell animated two shots of the robot dog Rover.
Joan Cusack was originally cast in the role of Bobbie Markowitz, but she had to drop out of the project for personal reasons. Bette Midler was cast in the role instead.
The film's title was parodied as The Stepford Chives in an episode of The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora.
There is also a mention to Sesame Street in the original film.
Death at a Funeral
Death at a Funeral is a 2007 black comedy directed by Frank Oz. The film focuses on a dysfunctional British family, preparing to bury the patriarch. Each relative has their own hang-ups and anxieties, and the arrival of a mysterious stranger (Peter Dinklage) adds further complications. The ensemble cast includes Rupert Graves as Robert.
Other directorial work
- Number Three Ball Film (1970 Sesame Street insert)
- The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show (1982 television special)
- The Funkhousers (2002 television pilot)
- Leverage "The Carnival Job" (2011 television episode)
- Muppet Guys Talking: Secrets Behind the Show the Whole World Watched (2017 documentary)