Comedy genius Melissa McCarthy + R-Rated Muppets? Sounds like an equation for success. At least that is what STX Entertainment is hoping for with their upcoming film The Happytime Murders. Brian Henson, the son of legendary puppeteer Jim Henson and a current chairman of Jim Henson Company, will direct the film, under the Jim Henson Company’s Henson Alternative banner. Although Jamie Foxx was once rumored to be attached to the project a few years ago, McCarthy has stepped in to fill the lead human role.
Set in the raunchy, underbelly of Los Angeles, the setting will see a world where humans and puppets co-exist. A human detective and a puppet detective will work together to uncover the murderer of the former cast of The Happytime Gang, an 80s puppet tv series. The production is set to start filming in August of this year.
The story was conceived by Todd Berger & Dee Robertson, with Berger writing the initial screenplay. Script revisions were then made by by Erich & Jon Hoeber and further revisions by McCarthy. The Jim Henson Company has been trying to develop the film since 2008.
Todd Berger, in an 2012 interview with Crave, talked about conceiving the idea with Brian Henson. He said that Henson wanted the film to be funny, but also a compelling story, allegedly saying that ‘this mystery actually needs to be interesting so that even if you took all the comedy out of it, it’s still going to be interesting to watch’. Berger also added that “Brian has actually already been working on the main character puppet. The [Jim Henson] Creature Shop has already made a few test puppets that I’ve met in person that are amazing. Then the whole world, because it’s not associated with The Muppets which are owned by Disney, it’s a movie in which puppets and humans coexist and a lot of the supporting characters are all puppets.”
Adam Fogelman, Chairman of STXfilms, said in statement:
Melissa McCarthy is the reigning queen of comedy, and we believe she will make The Happytime Murders the kind of hysterical, edgy, viral event that audiences today crave. This is the kind of script and material that was made for Melissa’s smart and boundary-pushing sensibilities.
Melissa McCarthy said the following regarding the upcoming project:
When a really good script combines puppet strippers, Los Angeles’ underbelly and comedy, it’s like my fever dream has finally come true.
McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone will produce under their On the Day Productions production company, while Lisa Henson and John W. Hyde will serve as executive producers.
McCarthy gained fans starring as the lovable cook in the tv series Gilmore Girls, but became the raunchy comedy queen after her role in 2011’s comedy hit Bridesmaids. Gaining McCarthy as a star is a big asset for Happytime Murders, given that in the last six years, McCarthy’s films have made more than $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office. These films include The Hangover Part III, The Heat, Tammy, St. Vincent, Spy, The Boss, and Ghostbusters. McCarthy also received praise this year for her portrayal of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. Look for McCarthy to be seen next in Life of the Party and Can You Ever Forgive Me?.
Stay tuned for more updates on Melissa McCarthy, as well as The Happytime Murders.