Brian Henson has been struggling for years to get The Happytime Murders in front of cameras. Set in a world where puppets and humans co-exist, it centers on a police detective begrudgingly reunited with his former felt partner to solve the serial murders of the puppet cast of a popular children’s television show whose sordid offscreen lives created no lack of suspects for their deaths.
In a new interview with Collider, Henson states that after all this time the film is getting close as it has ever been to going into production. It just now needs to assemble the right key cast members to get a studio to give it the go ahead.
It’s not like any other movie and with Hollywood, if a movie comes in under 10 million dollars, then there are a lot more people who are willing to take a chance. So if I could make the movie for 10 million dollars, it would be much easier. Right now, we plan on making it for a mid-sized budget and make it look like a big budget movie. I now have everything set in place, the right studio, the right financiers, and right now we’re getting agreements on who everyone wants for the human actors in the film.
Everything that’s “hard” about getting the movie greenlit has all been solved. The only thing holding up the production is getting everyone on the same page regarding the human actors in the movie to act alongside the puppets. I’ve been ready to make the movie for a year and have been working on it for seven so I’m happy to see that we’re wrapping everything up.
As of April, Jamie Foxx has been set to play the human lead, Detective Edwards, but no other actors have been attached to the project. Back in 2012, Katherine Heigel was attached to the film in the Edwards role and it isn’t clear when she left the project. The Jim Henson Company struck a partnership with STX Entertainment in July 2015 and it looks like that may have been the thing to get some forward motion on the project after all this time.
The Happytime Murders original script was by Todd Berger and Dee Robertson and landed on the Black List back in 2008. More recently, it has been reported that Red and Red 2 writers Erich and Jon Hoeber have done drafts.