The Jim Henson Company has acquired film rights to Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomolous Child, the upcoming novel from Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99 filmmaker S. Craig Zahler. He will direct the film version of his gothic, Dickensian take on The Elephant Man, which hits shelves next month. Zahler also will produce along with Henson and publisher Cinestate’s Dallas Sonnier.

Jim Henson’s Creature Shop designers (Dark Crystal, Labyrinth) will work with Zahler to create and build the animatronic puppet versions of Hug, a hopeful, physically asymmetrical boy who faces challenges in an orphanage, and the weird and dangerous world outside after he is adopted by an elderly eccentric as a pet.

Zahler is currently in post on his cop thriller Dragged Across Concrete starring Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughan. He has written several novels, including Wraiths of the Broken Land which is set up at 20th Century Fox for The Martian team of Drew Goddard to write and Ridley Scott to direct.

His Hug Chickenpenny book is set for release January 23.