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(Credit: Georges Biard)

Film

Ron Howard to direct a documentary about 'The Muppets' founder Jim Henson

Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are working on a documentary about Jim Henson, which they hope will be the “definitive” portrait of the puppet master. The film is said to present the puppet master in a mosaic of cinema, detailing his life as a biopic. Howard will act as a director and may work as a producer during the making of the film, having proven himself as a documentarian with 2016’s Eight Days A Week, detailing the rise of The Beatles in America.

In a carefully worded statement, the Henson family announced, “The Jim Henson Company’s archive is a treasure reflecting our father’s work, personal life and inspirations, and has been carefully maintained for the last 30 years under the leadership of archivist Karen Falk.” The family has represented Jim, ever since the puppeteer died in 1990. His Muppet catalogue was bought out by Disney in 2004.

“It will be thrilling to see the story that emerges from these materials in the hands of a truly great filmmaker like Ron Howard, who has the perfect spirit and personality to tell Jim Henson’s story,” the statement continued. Howard’s credits are wide, stemming from the swords and sandals fantasy of Willow to the more subversive and idiosyncratic nature of Arrested Development spearheaded over five series of television.

Howard started off as an actor, working on the American favourite serial Happy Days, before making the move into writing and directing. He won the 2002 Academy Award for Best Director for helming A Beautiful Mind, which also garnered wins for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress.

The Muppets released the first Muppets Halloween special in 2021, and more recently, the troupe announced a new original series entitled The Muppets Mayhem. The Office writer Ricky Gervais starred in a film in The Muppets series called Muppets Most Wanted in 2014. The film centred around The Muppets as they sauntered around Europe, unwittingly getting tangled up in an international crime plot. The picture also starred Tina Fey and Ty Burrell and proved to be the last Muppet full-length project as of this time of print.