Not Since Peter Jackson’s 1989 Meet the Feebles have we seen such puppet debauchery (unless you count Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Team America). Thanks to the Jim Henson Company, adults will finally fall in love with puppets all over again. Todd Berger and Dee Austin’s The Happytime Murders, starring Katherine Heigl (Bride of Chucky), is slated to be an R-rated thriller that takes place in a world where humans and puppets co-exist, with the puppets viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet cast of an ’80s children’s TV show called “The Happytime Gang” begins to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet — with a drinking problem, no less — takes on the case.
Berger speaks to CO about making a dark puppet movie. “I want to try to make the Heat of puppet movies. I want to be the Dark Knight or Heat but in a world where puppets and humans coexist. Brian was like, ‘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.’”
“It is full-on R,” he adds, “There is swearing, there’s sex, violence, murder. There’s no way. Maybe with some work it could be PG-13 but as of now we’ve embraced the R-rating.”
I love that we live in a world that’s starting to become littered with “lateral thinking”. We need to get past the idea of sequels and remakes and start focusing on unique new ways of telling stories. That’s the world I want to live in. You know, where puppets have sex.