Melissa McCarthy is out to stop a puppet killer in The Happytime Murders

The Happytime Murders

Director Brian Henson's R-rated puppet project THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS has proven to be a very complicated film to get into production. First announced in 2008, it's been making its way through development hell ever since. Occasionally it looks like things are about to get rolling - Cameron Diaz was offered a role in 2010, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was rumored to have met Henson about the film in 2011, Katherine Heigl was in final negotiations to star in it in 2012 - but then it just seems to go nowhere. I have written about THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS a couple times before, and both times good news has been followed by a long stretch of silence: STX Entertainment picked up the project in the summer of 2015, then it was nine months before we heard that Jamie Foxx was in negotiations to star in it. That was a year ago.

A deal doesn't seem to have been made with Foxx, but THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS has now landed a major star.

Melissa McCarthy has signed on to not only star in the film, but will also be producing it alongside Henson, Jeffrey Hayes, and Ben Falcone, and is revising the script.

Todd Berger wrote the initial screenplay, based on a story he crafted with Dee Robertson. RED / RED 2 writers Erich and Jon Hoeber were then brought on board for revisions.

The synopsis: 

The puppet stars of the iconic TV show The Happytime Gang are some of the biggest celebrities around. But off-camera, the family-friendly cast leads the kinds of lives that would make a tabloid writer blush. When the Happytime Gang stars begin to be mysteriously murdered, two mismatched detectives – one a type-A, take-no-prisoners human with a secret and the other a crass, hard-drinking puppet with a connection to one of the victims – must put aside their huge differences to stop the killings and catch the culprit, all the while trying to resist the temptation to murder each other.

McCarthy explains what drew her to the project: 

When a really good script combines puppet strippers, Los Angeles' underbelly, and comedy, it's like my fever dream has finally come true."

This is a huge step forward to THE HAPPYTIME MURDERS, so hopefully things won't just go silent again. The film is expected to begin production in August, and I really hope it will.

The Happytime Murders

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