Mirroring a sort of Who Framed Roger Rabbit vibe, The Happytime Murders exists in a world where humans and Muppets live as one – but there’s a catch. In this world, Muppets are viewed as an underrepresented minority of sorts. And to make matters worse, the cast of “The Happytime Gang,” an ’80s television show for children (think Sesame Street), is being killed off one by one, and the detective assigned to the case is a fellow Muppet named Phil Phillips whose reputation has fallen on hard times. Melissa McCarthy is starring as his former partner, Detective Connie Edwards.
According to THR, McHale is joining a cast that includes McCarthy, Maya Rudolph, and Elizabeth Banks as a stern and rigid FBI agent, though it’s unclear whether he’ll be lending his physical acting chops as a human character or voice talents as one of the Muppets. The film is currently in production, with Brian Henson (the son of Jim Henson) directing.
However, before you plan on bringing your children to see these Muppets in action, keep in mind that this flick won’t be for the faint of heart (or anyone under the age of 17, for the matter), and is expected to receive an R-rating. So, on all accounts – tonally and visually – this film won’t be your typical foray into the fun-loving world of Muppets created by the late Jim Henson.
The Happytime Murders is a comedy, but at its core is meant to be your run-of-the-mill film noir-style thriller. Whether everyone in front of and behind the camera can pull it off is anyone’s guess, but considering the (still growing) talent involved, the odds are ever in its favor.
Alongside McHale and McCarthy are Rudolph and Banks, who will be playing Phillips’ secretary, Bubbles, and Jenny, a burlesque dancer, respectively. Leslie Baker (The Office) will also appear, starring as Lt. Banning.
Casting news aside, The Happytime Murders hardly had a “happy” development process, with the film running into hurdle after hurdle before finally starting physical production. The Jim Henson Company (on which the film’s director, Brian Henson, is chairman) planned on developing the script back in 2008, but ended up trudging the film through development hell ever since. In fact, had the film gone into production when intended, the cast might have looked significantly different, with Cameron Diaz attached.
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