The Jim Henson Company has been throwing the idea of The Happytime murders around for quite a while now, ever since they snapped up the blacklisted script by Todd Berger (Kung Fu Panda 2). Now things are moving forward with Deadline reporting that Katherine Heigl is in advanced negotiations to take the lead in the film.
The film is a kind of more grown-up ally of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, in that it’s a film noir in which the fictional and real live side-by-side, although rather than animated characters, this time around its humans living alongside puppets.
Unfortunately puppets are treated as second-class citizens, and in this R-rated universe are just as likely to get into booze, drugs and sex as any of their human counterparts. When the puppet cast of 1980s children’s TV show, The Happytime Gang, begins to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet (who has a drinking problem), takes the case with his former human partner. It’s been described as Avenue Q meets LA Confidential, which is quite a mash-up.
Cameron Diaz was previously in talks for the film, but it now appears Heigl will be taking over the female lead role. It’d certainly be an interesting role and hopefully show some of the talent Heigl has been squandering in awful rom-coms.
Jim Henson’s son Brian is set to direct, although it’s not clear when shooting might being.