Deadline reports that Melissa McCarthy has signed on for The Happytime Murders, a long-gestating puppet noir comedy from The Jim Henson Company. McCarthy will produce on the project—which has been in the works for nearly a decade now, waiting for the right “vulgar puppet” boom to sweep it back into the zeitgeist—with her husband, Ben Falcone. The assumption is that McCarthy would also star in the film, although nobody’s confirming what part—human or otherwise—she might end up playing.
Happytime Murders is set in a world that’s a lot like Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, except with puppets in the place of cartoons. (Think Greg The Bunny, or, better yet, don’t.) The film’s plot kicks off when the washed-up puppet cast members of an old kids’ show start dropping dead, forcing an LAPD cop and their alcoholic former puppet partner to reunite and crack the case. (Also, according to McCarthy, there are puppet strippers involved.)
Last time we heard about the project, Jamie Foxx was in talks to star, with Brian Henson in the director’s chair. Henson is still attached, although Foxx’s name appears to have dropped off; meanwhile, the original screenplay was written by Todd Berger, with revisions by a number of people, including, most recently, McCarthy herself.