Actress Melissa McCarthy is set to star in dark puppet comedy, The Happytime Murders. The project will be directed by Brian Henson, chairman of The Jim Henson Company. The company, known for creating family entertainment and puppeteer work, has been trying to develop the project that will blend human characters with puppets since 2008. Lionsgate was set to develop the project in 2010, going as far as offering Cameron Diaz a role in the film, but abandoned the project before STX Entertainment picked it up again in 2015.
The delay in development is easy to comprehend, considering the plot promises to be a hard R-rating, with a human and puppet teaming up to solve the mystery of who is brutally murdering the former cast of “The Happytime Gang” puppet show against the backdrop of the underbelly of Los Angeles. The addition of puppet strippers hints at a much more grown-up Jim Henson project. The screenplay was written by Todd Berger, based on a story by Todd Berger and Dee Robertson. The script has undergone a few revisions, with the latest revisions by actress McCarthy.
According to Variety, Melissa McCarthy is set to star in the feature. While no character details have been revealed as of yet, we can expect McCarthy to play the human detective half of the puppet/human crime solving partnership. McCarthy will also serve as producer, along with Brian Henson, Jeffrey Hayes, Ben Falcone, The Jim Henson Company’s Henson Alternative banner, On the Day Productions, and STXfilms. The film is scheduled to go into production in August.
Considering that McCarthy has previously worked with STX before on Bridesmaids and Identity Thief, the casting news on this project isn’t very surprising. The actress is known for her comedic chops, and considering to be the current reigning queen of comedy. McCarthy is also a sure bet when it comes to box office numbers, bringing in more than $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office. since her breakout role in Bridesmaids. Even what many considered to be a flop, last year’s Ghostbusters reboot still gave McCarthy the best opening of her career at $46 million.
While McCarthy will bring the star power needed for the project, it’s not without risk. The edgy, adult nature of the film contradicts the family fun entertainment that The Jim Henson Company is known for. Similar films that combine adult themes with children’s icons, like Death to Smoochy, have bombed in the past. Conversely, Who Framed Roger Rabbit became a critical and box office success, though the film was much more family appropriate than this noir puppet comedy is shaping up to be. One thing is for sure, The Happytime Murders sounds too strange and twisted of a film to pass up.
Screen Rant will bring you more information on The Happytime Murders as it becomes available.