According to the Hollywood Reporter, the project will be shopped around the European Film Market in Berlin this week, an early step in procuring the overall financing needed to make the film. If the film’s Roger Rabbit with felt and foam concept wasn’t enough to entice potential buyers, it is also being reported that Katherine Heigl is interested in the film’s lead role of a human police detective who helps his former partner, a puppet investigate the murders of the puppet cast members of an 1980s children’s show called Happytime. The film is set to be directed by Brian Henson, son of Muppets creator Jim Henson., who cut his directorial teeth on A Muppet Christmas Carol and Muppet Treasure Island.
This is an unusual role for Heigel to be pursuing. For a majority of her film career she has kept herself confined a rather standard performance in a number of romantic comedies. Granted, she did try to stretch herself in the action comedy One For The Money which opened last weekend, but that film was savaged by critics, receiving an astoundingly low 3% on Rotten Tomatoes. It didn’t do well with audiences either, only making $11.5 million at the box office its opening three days. Would her landing the role in Happytime Murders prove to be a better vehicle for her to recreate her onscreen persona or has she become box office poison that would sink this film no matter how good her performance is?
I wouldn’t be surprised if the sudden movement on Happytime Murders is due to the box office success that Disney had with The Muppets late last year.The project was first purchased by the Henson Company back in 2008 but has lanquished in development ever since. Of course, the irony is that Henson Company no longer controls the Muppet characters, but it looks like they may still benefit from their renewed popularity after all.