The Jim Henson Co. is building a slate of fantasy family films by acquiring rights to the popular books The Boggart by Susan Cooper, The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey and the Monster Blood Tattoo trilogy by D.M. Cornish. Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, the company’s visual/special effects division, will bring each story’s characters and creatures to life using a blend of CG and animatronics. Co-CEOs Lisa Henson and Brian Henson will handle producing duties, along with Jason Lust, senior VP of feature films.
First published in 1993, The Boggart tells the story of a family from Toronto who inherits a Scottish castle and all its contents, including the gleeful spirit who has been playing tricks on the castle residents for generations. Brian Henson, whose directorial credits include Muppet Treasure Island, Muppet Christmas Carol, and Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, will helm the project.
Gorey’s classic 1957 tale The Doubtful Guest has an inexplicable creature show up unannounced and unwelcome at a family-owned bed & breakfast. Brad Peyton (Evelyn: The Cutest Evil Dead Girl) is attached to direct and Matthew Huffman will write the screenplay.
The Monster Blood Tattoo series is comprised of the books Foundling, Lamplighter and a third yet-to-be-named novel. The saga is set in the world of the Half Continent, a magical Victorian realm where an orphaned boy embarks on a perilous quest to become an apprentice to an esteemed line of monster bounty hunters. Writing and directing duties for this project have not yet been assigned.
The Jim Henson Co.’s most notable trip into fantasy literature in recent years was MirrorMask, its theatrically released adaptation of the Neil Gaiman work. The company has also optioned rights to SF Said’s fantasy novel, Varjak Paw. Currently in the works is The Power of the Dark Crystal, a sequel to the 1982 cult-favorite puppet feature, which Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky is directing. Henson plans to further expand the property with an animated television series, a manga series from TokyoPop and a variety of licensed products. Also on the horizon is Fraggle Rock: The Movie, a feature based on the children’s puppet series from the 1980s, and an animated television series basd on the collectible toy and storybook property The Skrumps.