According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate has picked up puppet / Muppet project Happytime Murders, a “comedy-thriller” based on a script by Todd Berger, which will be directed by Jim Henson’s son, Brian Henson. A bit more info after the break!
Apparently the film, which is a mystery set in a world where puppets are mistreated by humans (an idea that Germain at /Film rightfully compares to the concept behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), has been in development at the Jim Henson Company since October 2008, when Berger’s spec. script was picked up. THR has a brief rundown of the plot:
“Happytime” takes place in a world where humans and puppets co-exist, with the puppets viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet cast of an ’80s children’s TV show called “The Happytime Gang” begins to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet — with a drinking problem, no less — takes on the case with his former human partner. Think “Avenue Q” meets “L.A. Confidential.”
Sounds like it could be real fun, if it’s pulled off in the right way. This one probably wouldn’t be out for a while though, unless it’s decided that the release might be better if it quickly exploits the popularity of 2011’s The Greatest Muppet Movie Ever Made.
Next year’s new Muppet movie, written by Jason Segel, is one of my most anticipated films at the moment, as is the eventual Disney Jim Henson biopic The Muppet Man. I love the creativity behind the characters, and think they’re a great testament to practical effects and characters. So I’m looking forward to this.
And just to be clear – this will be starring Jim Henson Co. puppets, as in, ones created in the same style as the Muppets, as opposed to the cast from The Muppet Show themselves. So do we call these new ones Muppets too? I think so. Yes. But I don’t want to get it all confused.