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Empire acquires rights to Jim Henson screenplay

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by GelflingWaldo, Feb 4, 2008.


What do you think of Empire acquiring the rights to the Henson screenplay?

  1. The movie is a great idea. I hope that it gets produced.

    44 vote(s)
  2. I'm concerned that it can be done well and will honor Jim.

    26 vote(s)
  3. It's not worth doing if either Disney or Sesame don't support the movie.

    15 vote(s)
  4. I don't want to see it. Hollywood will likely misrepresent Jim’s life.

    9 vote(s)

  1. GelflingWaldo

    GelflingWaldo Well-Known Member

    Empire Films has acquired the production and distribution rights to "Henson," an original screenplay by Robert D. Slane that chronicles the life and achievements of Jim Henson. Empire is planning to start production on the feature film this summer. A theatrical release for the film is currently slated for 2009.
  2. EasyBeinGreen

    EasyBeinGreen Well-Known Member

    Jim Henson biopic in the works


    Empire Film Group, Inc. has acquired the motion picture production and distribution rights to Henson, an original screenplay by Robert D. Slane that chronicles the life and achievements of Muppets creator, Jim Henson. Empire has pegged the film for production in late summer with a $30 million budget to be funded through a consortium of international presales and co-production partners.

    "This is a major project about an entertainer of legendary stature and worldwide acclaim," said Dean Hamilton-Bornstein, CEO of Empire Film Group. "The script is superb and should provide a terrific roadmap for a completed film that will satisfy both mainstream audiences and critics. We're very excited about this acquisition and the commercial caliber of this project."

    Henson covers the life of puppeteer, filmmaker and entertainment mogul Jim Henson, from his early fascination with television as a teenager, through his spectacular career and life achievements. Empire anticipates hiring a major director, such as Penny Marshall, and hopes to attract notable star cast in key roles. Bornstein will act as Executive Producer, with Empire Home Entertainment President Eric Parkinson producing the film along with Xavier Mitchell.

    "Jim Henson is one of the best known and most beloved entertainers of all time," said Parkinson. "His story is inspiring, tragic, heartwarming and epic, and will make for an important and entertaining motion picture. This is the sort of movie that Empire will be pursuing as we build the company into a leading independent studio."

    So Exciting.... who could play Jim? I've always thought Jeff Daniels would make a good Jim Henson
  3. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Well-Known Member

    WHAT? That is the craziest thing I have ever heard!

    I wonder who will play Jim? And I wonder if they have talked to his family to see what they think. I say this only because of this line: "Empire is planning to hire a major "well-known" director for the project and hopes to attract a notable cast of stars as well." I'm not too sure if that is a good thing yet, but I won't pass judgement until we hear more.

    Wow. Still not sure what to say. But it's definitely interesting news! It's a cool idea, and since apparently "the script is superb", I can't wait to hear more news.

    2008 has been the craziest year for new Muppet news so far.
  4. kermiegirl

    kermiegirl Well-Known Member

    Oh my gosh! Are you really serious? I wonder who will play Jim Henson, his wife, children, and fellow puppeteers such as Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Steve Whitmire, etc. I think someone like Jeff Daniels or some major/minor actors like him could be Jim Henson; maybe they could be people who have been associated with the Muppets could star in it.
  5. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Hmmmmm not sure what to say - it would be nice to have a film of Jim's life but often these people who've bought rights do hype up talk of it to get studios on board, like $30 Million Budget, All Star Cast, Theatrical etc etc. I'd be surprised to see that actually happen, possibly - but if it ends up as a lower budget direct to dvd - well, he deserves more than that! I can imagine the film, it could be good, his life wasn't all that traumatic though so i'd be interested how they would build up any tension or drama.

    It must have been licensed from Henson Legacy so it's gonna be the candy coated version of his biography, but that surely would lead to stories of what he was really like behind the camera, and his death being sensationalized in the tabloids so they would be better off giving a balanced version of him. I'm mixed on this, the last time a biography was attempted (for Random House) the Hensons decided not to go ahead, as i said, could turn out to be a nice film, but might also drag up a lot of stuff that is maybe best left in the past.
  6. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    Well, it will have some sort of conflict as all films do. The question is how deeply they'll delve into his life. Honestly, I don't want to hear too many specifics of his marriage other than reported facts and the bond he shared with Mrs Henson through the end of his life.

    I imagine there will be backround on his upbringing and mostly his endless pitching ideas, disappointment, successes, more disappointments, a bit on Disney (as it surrounded his last days) and likely some sort of memorial. Now, that's actually a lot. I would like to see his impact on television from a behind the scenes perspective. That is mainly what catches my interest. Still, I feel some might be too sanitized. We'll have to see. This is exciting.

    I wonder if the writers strike helped get this already-penned script into the production phase or if that's totally unreleated?
  7. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    Did anybody else notice that Empire's major credit to date is the Blonde and Blonder trilogy? (oh yes, they're planning a trilogy). Then again, New Line started out with Nightmare on Elm Street so I guess everybody has to start somewhere.

    What I am curious about is whether or not they've secured the co-operation of Disney, Sesame Workshop and/or the Henson Company and Foundation. It would be really difficult to make a movie if they aren't able to use any of Jim's trademarked characters. I think you'd be cheating the audience and it wouldn't be possible to tell the story properly.

    This should be interesting.
  8. Speed Tracer

    Speed Tracer Well-Known Member

    Edward Norton.

    His smile reminds me of Jim's.
  9. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I'm also dubious on this story. They'd probably need Henson Legacy for his image rights, but then they still couldn't use the Muppets, Sesame, or even any of the character names without all the permissions. A $30 million big budget theatrical on Henson pitching puppet shows they can't talk about and dying from a "cold" - it's hardly Malcolm X is it? It all just sounds too, um, wierd. I'm all up for a nice film though! The original source for this is at http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=816910
  10. theprawncracker

    theprawncracker Well-Known Member

    ...Wow... that would be... incredible... wow.
  11. TheJimHensonHour

    TheJimHensonHour Well-Known Member

    Red Green needs to play Jim Henson hands down he almost even sounds like Jim when he talks in his normal voice and has a beard like Jim and everything!
    But seriously Penny Marshall they lady from the old k-mart commercials who used to hang out with Rosie...she's a well known director? since when..?
    This is all very exciting though!
  12. lowercasegods

    lowercasegods Well-Known Member

    Everything Buck has said has also crossed my mind. A cohesive, comprehensive film about Jim's life would require nothing short of huge alliances not seen since Disney, Warners, MGM and whoever holds sway over Fleischer's cartoons allowed their characters to cohabitate in Roger Rabbit. I can't see Disney just offering the Muppets up for a bio pic that they weren't producing, and if they did have a hand in it, the movie would end up being so sanitized and void of any possible so-called negative aspects (Jim and Jane were separated? That ain't Disney!) that it could barely be considered a bio pic. If Sesame Workshop, The Henson family and Disney can shake hands and play nice, everything else would fall into place for a movie like this. But without absolute agreement and involvement, the odds are stacked against such a film becoming a reality, let alone a success. However, if Jim taught me anything, it's optimism. If the rights have been granted, it's a step in the right direction. Get a good recognizable actor on board to placate the studios and the scales might just tip, and the three property holders might be more inclined to join forces. I would like to see this film happen. Finally, a bio pick for ME, I thought when reading this news. But beyond blind faith and a whole lotta hope, I have to just sit back and see what happens before I can get too excited.
  13. EasyBeinGreen

    EasyBeinGreen Well-Known Member

  14. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    On Laverne...

    LOL! She's not just the shrill lady with Rosie in the old K-Mart ads.:D

    Women directors in Hollywood are scarce. My film student alter-ego could provide many theories on why that is, but I'll spare you. Trust me, it's better that way. It should be noted that Penny Marshall (aka Laverne) has been well-known for helming high-profile, well-received projects with star-power. Some are better than others in my opinion. Some aren't good at all.

    "Awakenings" with Robert De Niro and Robin Williams (critically acclaimed), "Big" with Tom Hanks, "A League of Their Own" with Gina Davis, Tom Hanks and Madonna, "The Preacher's Wife" with Whitney Houston (back when she was popular) and Denzel Washington, "Jumpin' Jack Flash" with Whoopi Golberg.
  15. ploobis

    ploobis Well-Known Member

    I hope Frank Oz gets to direct this movie! Either him or Brian Henson, Who do you think should direct this movie?
  16. Speed Tracer

    Speed Tracer Well-Known Member

    I would LOVE Jess Daniels to play Jim. The only concern might be the age, He's almost the age Jim was when he died. Still, there's no denying that when it comes to resemblance, Daniels is as close as we could get... and their voices are even remarkably similar. And, heck, age shouldn't be any concern, I guess. Kevin Spacey was an amazing Bobby Darin in "Beyond the Sea" and he was a full six years older than Darin was when he died when the movie was released. Jeff Daniels would be perfect.

    And, this is sort of out there, but David Cross for Frank Oz, anybody? The resemblance between him and Frank is uncanny, and if you saw him in his brief role as Allen Ginsberg in "I'm Not There" you know he's capable of shredding his loudmouth image in favor of real performances (not to knock against Cross, man's one of the funniest and truest comics out there).
  17. Speed Tracer

    Speed Tracer Well-Known Member

    Oh, and I did a bit of research on the guy who wrote the screenplay, Robert D. Slane. He wrote some movie called "Come Away Home" a few years ago which didn't get much of a release, and he wrote and directed a short film called "The Fine Line Between Cute and Creepy" which is an amusing little title.

    And does anyone think the title "Henson" is just so... impersonal? I think just "Jim" would be the best title. It's just... Jim was such an open and accepting guy about everything, including himself. I've heard a lot of stories about how people would meet him, call him "Mr. Henson", and he would just ask them to call him "Jim". The point of this movie should be to convey that aspect of the man among the many others. I really hope "Henson" is just a tentative title.
  18. TheJimHensonHour

    TheJimHensonHour Well-Known Member

    ok I've still got my heart set on jolly mr. red green but Jeff Daniels looks very good there and would fit the look well but could he play jims voice well enough.
    this is steve smith aka red green

    Frank Oz might be a little biased about how things should be...that could either be really amazing or really bad.
  19. MuppetDanny

    MuppetDanny Well-Known Member

  20. MrsPepper

    MrsPepper Well-Known Member

    I concur; it gives a better vibe.

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