There was a time when it looked like the new Muppets movie would have company in theaters from a new Fraggle Rock film. Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked) was set to write and direct the film for The Weinstein Company. But Mr. Edwards started to talk about how the Weinsteins wanted something different from what he was doing — an older-skewing, edgier movie — and over the past year the movie has stalled altogether. The last word we had came from the writer/director:
There’s nothing to report except that The Weinstein Company has everything they need to move forward, and the ball is in their court. They’ve talked about getting a new writer, which I’m willing to do. They’ve talked about starting over from scratch, which I’m willing to do. But I have not heard a peep from their camp in almost a year.
Now a new report suggests the movie isn’t dead, and that it will have musical numbers penned by unlikely artists: Jake Shears and Babydaddy of disco/glam-pop band Scissor Sisters. Read More »
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It’s been almost a year since we heard any news about a Fraggle Rock movie. That goes for the director too. As more and more properties from the Seventies and Eighties get remade, rebooted or reimagined, the idea of a Fraggle Rock movie like a no-brainer. Now Cory Edwards, the director of Hoodwinked who has long been attached to Fraggle Rock: The Movie has posted an update to his blog about the film and it seems like the ball is totally in the court of the Weinstein Company. Read Edwards’ update after the break. Read More »
Even though Christopher Weekes‘ script The Muppet Man ‘won’ last year’s Black List poll of the best unproduced screenplays in Hollywood, there was every chance it would never make it to the screen. Essentially a biopic of Jim Henson peppered with fantastical scenes starring The Muppets, it would require the involvement somehow of both the Henson company, who hold the right to his life story and Walt Disney, who hold the rights to his famous felt creations.
Luckily, the two companies appear to have come to an agreement and seem to be pressing ahead with the picture together. They have reportedly even agreed on the director they’d most like for the job. His name is Michael Gracey and this would be his debut feature after a slate of music videos and commercials, most famously the Evian spot with somewhat off-looking roller-babies that went atomic as a viral video.
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Cory Edwards is hard at work writing the screenplay for The Weinstein Co’s upcoming Fraggle Rock movie, and has completed almost 50-pages of his first draft based on an extensive 17-page studio approved outline.
“[The outline] is the product of many meetings with the Henson and Weinstein folks, and has every little story beat we could think of,” writes Edwards on his blog. “The outline as been picked at, beat up, and shot at for any major problems. So now I have the freedom to lock myself in my laboratory and create, knowing that I am working from a road map that everyone has signed off on.”
And while Edwards is contractually obligated not to reveal any story points, he does mention an action scene, something not common in the original Henson-produced television show.
“I’m having a lot of fun. I just finished my first action scene (yes, there WILL be action scenes!), and am cracking some decent jokes. It’s hard to create jokes for Fraggles, since they have no pop culture references whatsoever. That’s probably a good thing… that means I have a better chance of creating a timeless movie (If I see one more cute iconic character ruined by “Shrekking It Up” for easy jokes, I’m going to go postal).”
The lack of pop-culture jokes gives me a little hope. I wasn’t a fan of Edwards’ 2005 animated film Hoodwinked! And it’s strange that Edwards takes a stab at the pop-culture obsessed comedy of Shrek since his last film was very much in the same vein. Edwards has also assured fans that the film will use “Real puppets on real sets with live actors.”
“It’s my goal to do everything the “old school Muppet way.” I do believe there are many Henson fans who would have my head on a platter if I attempted anything else. If it is possible to do something physically, on set and “in camera,” we will do it. But it’s also fair to say that I will use today’s effects to enhance or help any scene. I will just keep asking myself, WWJD? (“What Would Jim Do?”)”
The film will be music heavy and will feature a lot of original songs. Rumor has it that the storyline will involve the Fraggles going into “outter space” (aka above ground) to rescue Traveling Matt. Edwards confirms that the Fraggles (he promises “Gobo, Red, Wembley, Boober, Mokey and Uncle Matt will be in it”) will encounter the human world, and the idea is based off a story idea that “Henson always wanted to do.”
“I have come up with an original take based on that. There will be elements of a classic fantasy ‘quest’ movie with some traditional high-energy Muppet hijinks thrown in. My goal is to make this more than just a “cute” movie that occupies a kid’s attention span for 90 minutes. And the movie will not simply be a feature-length version of a Fraggle TV episode. It will deliver much more. I want to create something that will stay true to the spirit of the original show, but also go way beyond it. This is going to be a big fantasy adventure film that stands up to anything else at the multiplex today. Everyone involved in this project wants the same thing.”
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For some kids it was Sesame Street, for others it was the Smurfs, for my best friend Jon it was Nightmare on Elm Street (which explains… a lot), but for me I grew up watching Fraggle Rock. I’ve always believed that the Jim Henson created 1983 television show was vastly underrated. Meanwhile the characters have earned cred in the hipster crowd in recent years. We’re coming up on the 25th anniversary of the series and The Weinstein Co have announced that they will be producing a live-action musical feature film.
The bad news is that Cory Edwards, the guy who directed the animated Hoodwinked! (which as you can tell, I wasn’t too fond of) has been hired to helm and write the project. The story will supposedly involve the Fraggles leaving their home to interact with the Aliens (humans) in “Outer Space”. Past rumors have involved a storyline where they go in search for Uncle “Traveling” Matt. While this seems like the logical direction to go in for a big screen adaptation, I think it’s a bad idea. The great thing about Fraggle Rock was, well, Fraggle Rock itself. You take the Fraggles out of Fraggle rock and all you have is a bunch of muppets running around in the real world. And we already saw how that worked out in the last few Muppet films.
The television show ran for 96 episodes over five seasons and focused on a group of creatures called the Fraggles, who live in a system of caves called Fraggle Rock. he series focused on one tight-knit group of Fraggles in particular; Gobo, Mokey, Red, Wembley, and Boober. The “Theme song from Fraggle Rock” was actually a top 40 pop hit in Britain.
According to wikipedia, the vision of Fraggle Rock articulated by Jim Henson was to depict a colorful and fun world. Also a world with a relatively complex system of symbiotic relationships between different “races” of creatures, an allegory to the human world, where each group was somewhat unaware of how interconnected and important they were to one another. Creating this allegorical world allowed the program to entertain and amuse while seriously exploring complex issues of prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, environment, and social conflict. Fraggle Rock generally refused to over-simplify any individual issue, instead simply illustrating the consequences and inherent difficulties of different actions and relationships.
You can watch the classic opening of Fraggle Rock below:
[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/fragglerock.flv 322 240]
Discuss: Should the Fraggles leave Fraggle Rock for the big screen movie?