Disney and the Jim Henson company have put a movie into development about the life and career of puppeteer Jim Henson, reports Deadline. The project comes from Michael Mitnick, the screenwriter behind movies like The Giver and The Current War and shows like HBO’s Vinyl.
According to Deadline, the film will follow Henson’s life as he worked to “convince broadcasters that The Muppets was a great idea and how he worked to get the characters on air where they became a comedy staple.” The Jim Henson company owns the rights to its namesake’s life, and it’s been a project that it’s explored over the years, but nothing’s ever come of those efforts.
Lisa Henson (Henson’s daughter) is set to produce the project for the family’s company, and Mitnick is apparently re-writing a script that was originally penned by Aaron and Jordan Kandell.
Henson was born in 1936, and became interested in puppets while working for a local TV station while in high school, and produced his own children’s series, The Junior Morning Show. While attending the University of Maryland, he created a puppet show called Sam and Friends, which featured some of the forerunners to the iconic characters that he created, like Kermit the Frog.
After college, he worked for years filming commercials and other television projects, all while developing the idea of a variety puppet show that would become The Muppet Show. Along the way, he created Muppets Inc., and joined the iconic children’s series Sesame Street, developing the puppet characters for the show. In 1974, he and his company began The Muppet Show, and would go on to work on Muppet films, but also provided some help for Star Wars (Henson recommended his collaborator Frank Oz to puppeteer and voice Yoda), as well as films like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and series Fraggle Rock.
Henson died in 1990 at the age of 53, but the company he founded continued, working on films and television shows like MirrorMask, Farscape, The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and more. The company is currently working on Netflix’s forthcoming Pinocchio adaptation, as well as a sequel to Labyrinth.
There’s plenty of material in Henson’s life for a biopic, and given the beloved status of his creations, it could make for an interesting look at his life and creative pursuits.