Jim Henson's Crime Puppet Movie Finds New Home at STX

Brian Henson - H 2015
<p>Brian Henson - H 2015</p>   |   AP Images/Invision
Brian Henson remains on board to direct the feature.

The long-in-development puppet project Happytime Murders is getting another shot at the big screen.

STX Entertainment, Robert Simonds' new film and television studio, has partnered with The Jim Henson Co. on the project, the current iteration of which is untitled, and put it in active development.

Henson has been developing the Black List script since 2008 and in 2010 set up the dark comedy at Lionsgate. But trying to find humans to star in the adult-themed, criminal-puppet story proved too tricky, and the rights reverted back to Henson.

Happytime takes place in a world where humans and puppets coexist, with the puppets viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet castmembers of 1980s children's TV show The Happytime Gang begin turning up dead, a disgraced LAPD detective turned private eye puppet — with a drinking problem, no less — takes the case with his former human partner. The tone was originally envisioned as Avenue Q meets L.A. Confidential.

Todd Berger and Dee Robertson wrote the initial drafts, but the latest script is by Erich and Jon Hoeber, the brothers who wrote Red and Red 2.

Brian Henson remains on board to direct the feature.