STXfilms is teaming with Melissa McCarthy for the raunchy R-rated puppet movie The Happytime Murders, which Brian Henson will direct in conjunction with Jim Henson Company’s Henson Alternative banner.
STXfilms Chairman Adam Fogelson and President of Production Sam Brown made the announcement today.
The comedy is set in the underbelly of Los Angeles where puppets and humans co-exist. Two clashing detectives, one human (McCarthy) and one puppet, are forced to work together to figure out who is brutally murdering the former cast of The Happytime Gang, a beloved classic puppet show. A year ago, Jamie Foxx was in talks to star in Happytime Murders, but that did not solidify.
“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,” Fogelson said in a statement. “This is the kind of script and material that was made for Melissa’s smart and boundary-pushing sensibilities.”
Added McCarthy, “When a really good script combines puppet strippers, Los Angeles’ underbelly and comedy, it’s like my fever dream has finally come true.”
Henson, McCarthy, Jeffrey Hayes and Ben Falcone will serve as producers, while Lisa Henson and John W. Hyde will executive produce. McCarthy and Falcone will producer under their On the Day Productions banner. The story is by Todd Berger & Dee Robertson; the screenplay is by Todd Berger, with revisions by Erich & Jon Hoeber and further revisions by McCarthy. STXfilms VP Production Sheroum Kim and creative executive Kate Vorhoff are overseeing the production on behalf of STXfilms. Jeanne McCarthy is serving as casting director on the production.
McCarthy is repped by CAA and MGMT Management. Since breaking out in Bridesmaids, for which McCarthy was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar, her movies have counted more than $1.8 billion at the worldwide box office. Last summer, she notched the best opening of her career with Ghostbusters ($46M). While many studio executives gripe that there’s no such thing as stars at the box office, when it comes to low productions costs vs. big B.O. results, many in town consider McCarthy one of the few remaining guarantees.