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."
This is definitely the season for biopic films, and I am very glad to see this one lit. People around my age demographic grew up with Sesame Street. Thanks to Big Bird, I learned how to count and say no to drugs.
I wonder who will play Mr. Henson? Jason Lee? Giovanni Ribisi? Phillip Seymour Hoffman (you know he could pull it off)? Who would you cast if you were in charge?