It’s been some four years now since we first heard about The Happytime Murders, the Jim Henson Co.’s puppet-centric noir satire, but perhaps spurred on by the success of last year’s The Muppets, the project seems to finally be coming together for real. Katherine Heigl signed on for a starring role sometime last month, and now IM Global has released the first pieces of concept art from the film as well as an official synopsis. Check them out after the jump.

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There is a staggering amount of casting news today thanks in part to the in-progress European Film Market at the Berlin Film Festival, where producers take projects to gather foreign distribution deals and financing. So let’s get right to it.

First up, the Princess Diana film Caught in Flight, which will be directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel (The Invasion, Downfall) has found a new Princess. Last year Jessica Chastain was in talks for the role — there was a moment where she was in talks for every big female role, it seems — but now Diana will be played by Naomi Watts. Losing Chastain is unfortunate, but if Watts is the replacement I can’t see too many complaints being aired.

Written by Stephen Jeffreys, the film will shoot later this year with an emphasis on the last two years of Diana’s life; that is, after her 1995 divorce, and through her relationship with heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan. “It charts how finding true personal happiness for the first time allowed her to achieve her defining successes evolving into a major international campaigner and humanitarian.” [Deadline]

After the break, Haley Joel Osment goes back to science fiction, and we catch up with two new roles for Katherine Heigl that were announced not long ago. Read More »

stuffed_and_unstrung

Brian Henson is out promoting Stuffed and Unstrung, formerly Puppet Up!, the live adults-only puppet improv show with undeniably Muppety stars. Of course, they can’t call them Muppets – the name now belongs to Disney – but there’s a recognisable style, and quality, to every foam face the Henson craftsmen make. If you want to know more about Stuffed and Unstrung, there’s a nifty video ad embedded below the break.

During his promotional interviews, Henson has also been pressed to discuss the in-development Muppet Man, a fictionalised biopic of his father Jim that we’ve written about a few times before, as well as a The Happytime Murders,  a balls-out comedy” that’s also “a gritty crime thriller and a satire of the genre”.

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