Frank Oz Talks Jim Henson, Creating Yoda, Bert and Fozzie, the Recent MUPPET Movie and If He Would Ever Be Involved with THE MUPPETS Again

by     Posted 1 year, 263 days ago

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It’s not too often you meet someone that has truly changed your life.  Having grown up on Sesame Street, Star Wars and The Muppets, getting to meet and speak with Frank Oz at the Saturn Awards last night was the highlight of my evening.  If you’re not aware of Oz’s influence on our planet, he created Yoda, Miss Piggy, Animal, Grover,  Fozzie Bear, Cookie Monster and Bert on Sesame Street, among many others.  His influence on generations of kids around the world is immeasurable.

During our interview, I asked him about working with Jim Henson, creating the voices for his iconic characters, if he kept any props from his past projects, if he saw director James Bobin‘s The Muppets and what he thought about the film, and whether he would ever be involved with The Muppets again.   Hit the jump for more.

Shawn Levy to Produce SESAME STREET Movie for Fox

by     Posted 1 year, 301 days ago

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Just the other day we mentioned that producer/director Shawn Levy (Real Steel) had added another project to his plate; it looks like he’ll be doubling that order with the addition of a Sesame Street feature.  20th Century Fox recently picked up the rights to the long-running educational kids program for Levy to produce through his 21 Laps banner.  Since it’s debut in 1969, Sesame Street has hauled in 138 Emmys.  More importantly, it’s created iconic and educational characters like Big Bird, Bert and Ernie and Oscar the Grouch, who are recognized all around the world by children of all ages.  But this won’t be the first time for Big Bird to be on the big screen.  Hit the jump for more on the Sesame Street feature film. 

Jim Henson’s FRAGGLE ROCK Adaptation Lands RANGO Writing Talent

by     Posted 1 year, 321 days ago

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Dance your cares away, the big screen adaptation of Jim Henson’s classic series, Fraggle Rock, has landed a pair of writers.  Mining talent from Rango, the New Regency project has tapped Jim Byrkit and Alex Manugian to script the musical puppet feature.  Fraggle Rock was an 80s series that followed a group of puppet creatures who lived underground in caves.  The musical Muppet-like characters coexisted peacefully alongside the miniscule and industrious Doozers, but are regarded as pests by the giant, furry Gorgs who live above-ground.   There also happens to be an anthropomorphic trash pile named Marjory and a puppet sheepdog named Sprocket.  I miss the 80s.  Hit the jump to see more on Fraggle Rock, including the catchy theme song and intro.

LABYRINTH Graphic Novel Prequel Explores Origins of David Bowie’s Goblin King

by     Posted 2 years, 99 days ago

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Once upon a time, a fantasy movie debuted in theaters without much critical acclaim and even less box office success. Over the years, however, it became a cult classic; more than 25 years later, Jim Henson’s Labyrinth is still held as one of fantasy fans’ most beloved films. The story centered on Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) an imaginative young girl who, in a fit of frustration, wished the Goblin King would whisk her baby brother Toby (Toby Froud) away. Answering her prayers was Jareth (David Bowie), the Goblin King himself. While the rest of Labyrinth is a fantastic experience of sight and sound, blending puppetry and live human performance, one mystery that was never solved is the origin of the Goblin King. Now, a graphic novel by Archaia will seek to answer that question and expand upon Henson’s world. Hit the jump for much more, including Bowie’s rumored involvement with the project.

Kevin Clash BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY Interview

by     Posted 2 years, 178 days ago

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Elmo is an international icon, but few people know the inspiring story of his creator, Kevin Clash. The documentary Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, opening on October 21st in theaters and then premiering on PBS in Spring 2012, tells the story of someone who displayed his creativity and talent from a young age. Dreaming of working with his idol, master puppeteer Jim Henson, he ultimately found a home on Sesame Street, where he has been making children and their families happy, ever since. Narrated by Whoopi Goldberg, the film includes rare archival footage, a behind-the-scenes look at Sesame Street and the Jim Henson Workshop, and a showcase of just how much those lovable characters mean to people of all ages, all over the world.

During this exclusive interview with Collider, puppeteer Kevin Clash talked about how the documentary came about, that the dream of being on Sesame Street started when he was nine years old, how honored he was to work alongside Jim Henson and continue his legacy, how quickly the personality and voice for Elmo came to him, the responsibility of fulfilling a last wish for a sick child, and how fun it was to be a part of the return of the Muppets, voicing a character for the new feature film. Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Lionsgate Picks Up Dark Jim Henson Co. Puppet Film HAPPYTIME MURDERS

by     Posted 3 years, 187 days ago

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Every now and then you come across an upcoming project that really makes you hope and pray it hits theaters.  Such is the case with Happytime Murders, a dementedly dark tale by Todd Berger with Brian Henson (son of Jim Henson) at the helm.  The Jim Henson Co. picked up a spec script by Berger in October 2008, and the project finally seems to have a suitor.  Lionsgate has picked up the comedy-thriller that features puppets as second-class citizens, with a possible January start date in mind. Hit the jump for full plot details and why this film is on the prowl for a lead.

HENSON’S PLACE: THE MAN BEHIND THE MUPPETS DVD Review

by     Posted 3 years, 221 days ago

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Jim Henson was a genius, as most people now realize.  Therefore, it’s a real treat to see a documentary that has been made about his creations and his company.  Henson’s Place: The Man Behind the Muppets is just that.  However, this piece is a vintage documentary, one produced in England back in 1984.  The most recent project Henson and company are shown to be working on in this piece is Labyrinth (1986), because you can notice them building the film’s creatures in one segment.

Henson’s Place tells the tale of Jim Henson’s beginnings as a college student in a puppeteering class, where he met his future wife Jane.  The two started a televised puppet show that even in its primitive black and white presentation foreshadowed the brilliance that lay ahead.  Henson’s early puppet design and writing was not much different to the look and comedy of The Muppet Show (1976-1981) which years later made Jim Henson an international star, finally allowing him the creative freedom to branch out to feature films and beyond.  More after the jump:

Rare Video of Jim Henson Teaching How to Make Puppets

by     Posted 3 years, 243 days ago

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Last December, with little to no fanfare, Iowa Public Television posted a rare 1969 clip of Jim Henson teaching the art of puppet making.  The clip (from the show Public See) is obviously only the first in a what was a series of segments featuring the famous puppeteer.

The 15-minute video is a wonderful look at the man who usually hid himself below the stage.  It is also bursting with great ideas for parents who are looking for ways to keep their children busy.  Henson, along with Don Sahlin (the head Muppet’s designer until his death in 1978), demonstrate how easy it is to make simple puppets out of common household objects such as socks, tennis balls, styrofoam cups, wooden spoons, envelopes and even produce.  My 7-year-old has already made it clear that she’s not going to let me rest until we’re created at least one of each.  As a bonus for Muppet fans, it even features a cameo from Rowlf the dog!

This clip is a rare treat which less than 10,000 people have viewed so far.  All you have to do to enjoy it yourself is to hit the jump.

Spierig Brothers to Direct 3D POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL

by     Posted 3 years, 348 days ago

Peter and Michael Spierig (Daybreakers) will helm Power of the Dark Crystal in 3D, the sequel to Jim Henson’s 1982 fantasy film, The Dark Crystal.  Here’s the brief synopsis from the press release:

Set hundreds of years after the events of the first movie when the world has once again fallen into darkness, “Power of the Dark Crystal” follows the adventures of a mysterious girl made of fire who, together with a Gelfling outcast, steals a shard of the legendary Crystal in an attempt to reignite the dying sun that exists at the center of the planet.

I never saw the first film so I have no idea what any of that means.  If you have seen the original and are eager for details about the sequel, hit the jump to read the full press release.

LABYRINTH and THE DARK CRYSTAL Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 4 years, 192 days ago

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For most people, just coming up with a cast of characters as wonderfully lovable as the Muppets – to say nothing of helping spearhead a pair of television classics as durable as The Muppet Show and Sesame Street – would be enough to justify an early and lucrative retirement. For Jim Henson, however, those feats only scratched the surface of his ambition, and by the early ’80s, the man who helped turn puppets from a sideshow trick into an art form was ready to try his hand at slightly more grown-up fare. The results were 1982′s The Dark Crystal and 1986′s Labyrinth, a pair of PG-rated fantasy films that connected the dots between The Muppet Movie and The Lord of the Rings. Neither film made much of an impression at the box office, but they’ve both acquired cult status over the years – and now they’ve both been given rather painstaking hi-def upgrades courtesy of Sony Pictures. My reviews after the jump:

Disney and Jason Segel Plan to Make THE CHEAPEST MUPPET MOVIE EVER MADE

by     Posted 4 years, 218 days ago

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As you might know, D23 is currently happening right now.  As expected, we are being flooded by new Disney news.  One of the many new bits of news that has popped out today is an update on the new Muppet movie.  You might remember that Jason Segal is writing the newest film in the Muppet franchise and has described his take on the new film by saying that “we are trying to bring it back to the early ’80s movies where it’s not Muppets in the Sahara or Muppets Underwater. It’s the Muppets getting back together to put on a show, to save the studio.”

News has been quiet about the new film for the past couple of months but we now have a title for the latest Muppet adventure.  Disney’s Dick Cook officially announced today that the upcoming Muppet film will be titled “The Cheapest Muppet Movie Ever Made”.  You can get the full details and a hint of what the plot might be when you hit the jump.

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