For quite a few years The Jim Henson Company has been working on The Happytime Murders, but despite plans to shoot in 2010 and 2012, and stars likes Katherine Heigl and Cameron Diaz linked to it at various times, the project has remained stuck in development hell. This time last year it seemed things were moving forward, as Jamie Foxx was circling the lead role.
It doesn’t look like he’s involved any more, but instead another great talent has come onboard, with Variety reporting that Melissa McCarthy is set to star. She comments, “When a really good script combines puppet strippers, Los Angeles’ underbelly, and comedy, it’s like my fever dream has finally come true.”
The basic concept of the film is that it’s set in a world where puppets are second-class citizens, but just as likely to get into booze, drugs and sex as any of their human counterparts. When the puppet cast of 1980s children’s TV show The Happytime Gang begins to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet (who has a drinking problem), Phil, takes the case with his former human partner. It’s been descibed as Avenue Q meets LA Confidential, which is quite a mash-up.
Jim Henson’s son Brian is set to direct the movie, which is due to finally start shooting in August.