Academy Award winner Bret McKenzie on what inspires him, and what Kermit the Frog is like in real life

Bret McKenzie is a man of many talents - he's an actor, an Academy award-winning composer, comedian and all-around good bloke.

Now, McKenzie has been announced as a guest curator for the New Zealand Festival in 2020. 

One of McKenzie's contributions will be a musical interpretation of the creepy, surrealist novella "The Brief and Frightening Reign of Phil" which he has developed alongside the National Theatre in London.

"[The novella] is really strange for sure, it's really surreal, quite dark and quite funny," McKenzie told Newshub.

"For the festival, we're going to put some shows on with a Wellington audience as part of the development process,"

Developing a stage show is a time-consuming process - McKenzie says eight years is the estimate for most musicals. 

With two years of development under his belt, he is excited to share the show.

"We're getting to the point where we've got a draft of a script and the benefit of presenting and workshopping these shows is you can kind of make your mistakes and develop it," he said.

It's also a great opportunity for audiences to contribute.

"Fans and audiences can give you feedback and you can have ideas which then spark the kernel of the next project."

"I'm inspired by artists coming together and collaborating and just hanging out and how that can inform and feed everyone's ideas in a really healthy way."

A Wellingtonian at heart, McKenzie says he's excited to recreate his own memories of shows in the Capital.

"I'm excited to really bring Wellington to life with shows and events," he said.

"I just have such fond memories of going out and seeing shows and meeting artists, and it really inspired me and I hope I can inspire other New Zealand artists in the same way."

The New Zealand Festival will be held in Wellington from the 21 February until 15 March 2020.

Watch the full interview above.



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