I’m no expert on the life of Jim Henson, but was his life riddled with enough struggle and conflict to make for an interesting movie?

Empire Film Group Inc. apparently thinks so, as they’ve just snatched up the rights to Henson, a screenplay by Robert D. Slane that, according to the press release, covers the puppeteer’s life “from his early fascination with television as a teenager, through his spectacular career and life achievements.”  Perhaps we’ll find out that Henson’s elementary school days were plagued by merciless teasing from a pair of bullies named Statler and Waldorf.  And maybe those bullies didn’t come home from school one cold winter day.  And maybe they were found several weeks later buried in a vacant lot, the victims of a grisly assault that involved “the vigorous and repeated penetration of the anal cavity”.  ‘Cuz I’d pay to see that movie.

Empire is banking on widespread interest in the life of Jim Henson:  they’re targeting a budget of $30 million “funded through a consortium of international presales, co-production partners and triads.”  They’re also hoping to land a director of Penny Marshall’s stature (no joke, that’s in the press release).  Not that hiring Marshall would be much of a coup; she hasn’t directed a thing since 2001’s Riding in Cars with Boys.

If Slane’s screenplay doesn’t take the dark, lurid angle suggested above, I hope he’s at least worked Saturday Night Live head writer Michael O’Donoghue into the screenplay (when asked to write for the Muppets during SNL‘s first season, O’Donoghue famously remarked, “I won’t write for felt”). 

Empire is hoping for a late summer start date.  Commence fantasy casting (I vote Pruitt Taylor Vince).