A Jim Henson biopic is in the works from Disney and The Jim Henson Company. Per a new report from Deadline, The Current Warand The Giver writer Michael Mitnick has been set to write the biopic, which has been appropriately titled Muppet Man, rewriting a previous version of a script by Aaron and Jordan Kandell. Henson's daughter, Lisa Henson, who's also working on Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchiomovie for Netflix, will serve as a producer.
The movie will "chart the life and times of the legendary puppeteer, creator of The Muppets, Fraggle Rock and many of the Sesame Street characters, as well as director of cult films such as Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. The movie will hone in on Henson's journey 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."
Perhaps the most well-known puppeteer of all time, Henson co-founded Muppets, Inc., which became The Jim Henson Company, in 1958. After developing new characters for Sesame Street, Henson gave the Muppets their own series by creating The Muppet Show in 1974. Leading the pack was the showrunner Kermit the Frog, who was originally voiced and puppeteered by Henson himself. The series was an instant hit, spawning a popular franchise that returned to primetime with co-creator Bill Prady's The Muppets reboot on ABC in 2015.
"[Jim Henson] was very fond of Bill Prady and thought he was a real up-and-comer in those days when he was a writer so I'm sure he would have been thrilled to have one of his protégés taking the Muppets into primetime," Lisa told Varietyat the time. "With the Muppets, it's always been important to have a big feature film or a big primetime show. My father would have been thrilled to see the Muppets getting so much attention, and for them to be one of the most prominent premieres of the fall, that would have been rewarding."
Henson died in 1990 at the age of 53, but his legacy lives on withThe Muppets just as popular as ever. Disney acquired the rights to the characters in 2004 and has produced multiple Muppets movies in the years since. Just last year, the latest incarnation of the Muppets' TV series, Muppets Now, premiered on Disney+. The company reportedly had discussions with The Henson Company about a Jim Henson biopic in 2010, but the movie stalled with no significant updates until now.
Just last month, Henson was honored once again when the 1979 song "Rainbow Connection" from The Muppet Movie was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry. With music and lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher, the song was performed by Henson as Kermit the Frog. At the time of its release, it reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Classic episodes of The Muppet Show are currently streaming on Disney+ alongside Muppets Now and other Muppets content. This news comes to us from Deadline.