Although it made the Black List a few years back, most folks hadn’t heard about The Happytime Murders until last month when Katherine Heigel signed on to the Brian Henson-directed project. The Henson Company seems to be revving into high gear with the project as they have now released two pieces of concept art for the film.
The Henson Company has also released an official story synopsis for the film –
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 hard headed determination, as he tries to solve, “The Happytime Murders.”
Although they haven’t specified anything yet, most people, myself included, thought that the part that Heigel landed was for Phil’s ex-partner, Detective Edwards. In the draft of the script that landed the project on the Black List, Edwards was written as a man, and as the gender swap done on the Angelina Jolie movie Salt taught us, a simple rewrite could have changed that. That the role has been rewritten seems to be confirmed in the second of the two pieces below.
The first piece of concept art is of Phil himself and shows us exactly how world weary a puppet can look. The second is from early in the film when Phil just happens to be at a grungy adult book store while investigating another case and stumbles across the first of the Happytime cast murders. As you can see, the female police detective on the far left could very well be the Heigel role. The police believe that the attack was just a robbery gone wrong, but Phil has his suspicions…