For people of a certain age, the in-development Fraggle Rock movie is the latest in a long-line of cherished childhood relics that are being pulled out, dusted off, and refurbished for the 21st century.
The Jim Henson Company announced its plans for a Fraggle Rock film adaptation back in 2005. A year later, Ahmet Zappa (co-writer on this summer’s Odd Life of Timothy Green) was hired to pen the script treatment; in 2008, the Weinstein Company signed on as distributor, with writing and directing duties on the project assigned to Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked!). Some time thereafter, the Weinsteins went on the prowl for a new screenwriter, after dubbing Edwards’ draft as not being “edgy” enough.
Cut to the present and New Regency now owns the rights to the Fraggle Rock movie. The latest report from Heat Vision confirms that the Jim Henson Company is still producing the project, along with the Montecito Picture Company – but there is no mention of whether or not Edwards is still involved (in any capacity).
However, early signs point to a completely fresh start for the project, seeing how James Ward Bykrit and Alex Manugian have been brought aboard to pen a script draft. Bykrit previously worked as a storyboard artist on Gore Verbinski’s Pirates of the Caribbean movie trilogy, along with the filmmaker’s animated western Rango (which Bykrit also received co-writing credit for). Manugian is a former Cartoon Network executive, who also did voice-work for Rango. Together,
they fight crime they’ve already written the spec for Disney’s Fleeced (described by THR as “‘Ocean’s 11 meets ‘Jason and the Argonauts’”).
Henson’s original Fraggle Rock TV show was a puppet-centric series about happy-go-lucky, colorful, cave-dwelling creatures – whose neighbors include tiny green construction workers called Doozers, and unfriendly, giant furry monsters known as Gorgs. It’s a pretty oddball creation, when you think about it, so perhaps it’s all the more fitting that people like Bykrit and Manugian are going to try their hands at making it work as a movie (given the pair’s collective resume).
There’s previously been discussion as to whether or not the Fraggle Rock movie will be a musical fantasy that uses old-fashioned puppetry to bring the Fraggles to life – or one that relies on a mix of CGI/live-action, like New Regency’s Alvin & the Chipmunks series. We dodged the bullet of getting an “edgy” Fraggle Rock film – so, hopefully, we’ll also get one that features classic, felt-based Fraggles (see: last year’s The Muppets for proof of that technology’s continued relevance).
We will continue to keep you up-to-date on the status of the Fraggle Rock movie as the story develops.