With The Muppets finally bringing Jim Henson's creations back to the cultural forefront, it was only a matter of time before we started getting more felt puppet creations on the big screen. Surprisingly, it's not going to be limited to The Muppets 2. Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson and the director of A Muppet Christmas Carol, is preparing to direct The Happytime Murders, a film that takes place in a world where humanity and puppets coexist, Who Framed Roger Rabbit style, in which a puppet detective has to track down a killer.
Hollywood Reporter broke the film's concept art, above, which depicts a grisly murder scene at a puppet sex shop (ew…), in which the floor is just covered in stuffing. IM Global release the following synopsis:
"In a world where puppets co-exist with humans as second class citizens, puppet private eye and disgraced ex-cop, Phil Phillips, is hot on the trail of the serial killer who murdered his brother and is now targeting the cast members of the famous 80s television show, “The Happytime Gang.” As the killings continue, Phil’s former flame, Jenny, is next on the list. It’s up to Phil and his ex-partner, Detective Edwards, to find the culprit, but as bad blood and old resentments resurface the clues start pointing to the only viable suspect, Phil himself. Now he’s on the run with only his wits and hardheaded determination, as he tries to solve, “The Happytime Murders.""
It's important to remember that despite the Brian Henson connection and puppet protagonist, The Happytime Murders is not a proper "Muppet" movie. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo and indeed the very name "Muppet" are currently owned by Disney, who probably don't want to associate their characters with what appears to be a very dark interpretation of the sort of world Jim Henson created, even if it does have his son's seal of approval.
The only thing that doesn't excite us beyond relief about The Happytime Murders is the lone casting announcement: Katherine Heigl. We're not sure if she's playing Jenny or the first name-less Detective Edwards, but either way… Well, she's Katherine Heigl. Besides Knocked Up and (maybe) Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, has she ever been in a movie you liked?
CraveOnline will be back with more Happytime Murders news after we find out if there's a Geppetto in the house.