EXCLUSIVE: Jamie Foxx is in early negotiations to star in STX Entertainment and the Jim Henson Company’s raucous comedy The Happytime Murders, which will combine live-action and puppetry made so famous by the Henson family. The project, which is expected to get an R-rating, will be directed by Brian Henson.

The story follows puppet stars of an iconic TV show The Happytime Gang who 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 differences to stop the killings and catch the culprit, all the while trying to resist the temptation to murder each other.

The screenplay is by Todd Berger & Dee Robertson, and Erich and Jon Hoeber (Red and Red 2).

Foxx would play Detective Edwards, a LAPD cop who must re-team with his former partner Phil, a drinker and philanderer who is not keen on Edwards’ good-cop persona. Together they try to solve the murders, all the while bumping heads on each other’s methods. The project is a turn back into comedy for the Oscar-winning Foxx (Ray). The pic also clearly has merchandising and licensing potential.

Foxx, who next plays little John in Robin Hood: Origins, is repped by CAA.