Photo Credit: Todd Oren/Getty Images
What is it like to be Elmo? There's only one person who knows: Kevin Clash, the six-foot-tall African American man behind the little red monster. In the new documentary Being Elmo, Clash, 51, recalls his journey from a kid who made his own puppets to the creator of an internationally beloved children's character. Watch the trailer below!
As a child in Baltimore, Clash grew up obsessed with puppets, his biggest dream to work with Muppets creator Jim Henson. He realized that dream when he became a Sesame Street puppeteer in 1984, performing characters like Hoots the Owl and Baby Natasha.
But his breakout moment came when Clash picked up a discarded red puppet that had literally been hanging around the Sesame Street set since the 1970s. He developed Elmo's signature laugh and decided, as he says in the trailer, that the character "should represent love." And the rest is history.
Clash is so attached to his character that he is the only person who ever performs Elmo, flying around the world to share the love with kids everywhere.
Being Elmo was a huge hit at January's Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Prize for best documentary. The reviews have been excellent, too: New York Magazine writes, "It is impossible to come out of this documentary about Kevin Clash, the man behind Elmo, without wanting to hug someone." The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, calls the film "a rare documentary that will connect across generations and cultures to delight viewers worldwide for years to come."
The film opens at New York's IFC Center Oct. 21, and rolls out to other theaters across the country in the following weeks. Click here to see if it's playing near you.