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Vulture Exclusive: Disney Planning a Jim Henson Biopic

Just a month after Disney hired Flight of the Conchords co-creator James Bobin to direct a new Muppet movie, studio insiders now tell Vulture that the studio is also in discussions with the Jim Henson Company to make The Muppet Man, a biopic about Jim Henson. We're told that both Henson (the company, obviously) and Disney execs are extremely interested in hiring commercial and music-video director Michael Gracey to make the film.

The script, written by Australian scribe Christopher Weekes, topped last year's "Black List," the industry's unofficial rundown of the best unproduced screenplays. However, when Weekes wrote the script, which contains flights of fancy in which crucial moments in Henson's life are played out by Muppets, he did so without securing the rights to either Henson or his creations. So a Disney and Henson Company collaboration is likely the only way this film could be made: The Henson Company controls the life rights to Henson and his surviving ex-wife, Jane, while Disney bought the rights to the Muppets in 2004. Finally, the two sides seem to have stopped arguing over who should pull the strings and are collaborating on getting it made.

The script, written by Australian scribe Christopher Weekes, topped last year's "Black List," the industry's unofficial rundown of the best unproduced screenplays. However, when Weekes wrote the script, which contains flights of fancy in which crucial moments in Henson's life are played out by Muppets, he did so without securing the rights to either Henson or his creations. So a Disney and Henson Company collaboration is likely the only way this film could be made: The Henson Company controls the life rights to Henson and his surviving ex-wife, Jane, while Disney bought the rights to the Muppets in 2004. Finally, the two sides seem to have stopped arguing over who should pull the strings and are collaborating on getting it made.

Photo: Getty Images