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The Muppet Man BioPic

Discussion in 'Muppet Headlines' started by Kiki, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I'm reminded of the Three Stooges telefilm biopic...

    They showed Curly keeling over and on his death bed... but they didn't show him dying. In fact, his death bed scene was basically to illustrate a story (that may or may not have been true... I take these with a grain of salt) where Moe signed over Curly's likeness for merchandising reasons. Even Shemp they just talked about and showed a grave marker...

    But at the end, they did what I think they should do here... they had Moe, Larry, and Curly Joe on stage taking bows with on screen text saying "Moe died in such and such at the age of X" and etc. If Jim being on his deathbed is very integral to the plot and story, I say leave that in... but during the part where he's dying, I'd rather have an old recording of Kermit singing "Rainbow Connection" while actual clips of Jim from TV interviews and behind the scenes are shown through a soft filter... then add on screen text to it to show what happened to other people Jim Knew. It has the same effect, only even better. We get to cry over the celebration of his life, not sob over a sad sad story.

    Really, this movie so far is reminding me of the episode of Pinky and the Brain where they try to make the saddest movie of all time, and at the end Pinky keeps saying "It's a sad, sad, sad, sad, sad, sad story!"
  2. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Also, in real life his death was followed by a crazy yowling woman being wheeled through the waiting room making everyone think that it was just the kind of crazy moment, accenting the tragedy, that Jim would have loved. His friends and family remembered him for his fun and outlook on life, not for depressing blood-coughing dying moments.
  3. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    That really happened, Beau? Where'd you hear that?

    Heh. Like the story Frank Oz told at Jim's memorial. ;)
  4. Beauregard

    Beauregard Well-Known Member

    Here it is:

    Here’s the funniest thing that may have ever happened in my life. We’re sitting there during that kind of a situation… Imagine this moment… It’s just the lowest point in all of our lives. We’ve just been told that Jim has died. It’s like somebody’s punched us in the chest. All of a sudden, from down the hall, we hear this sound… Like this high-pitched gibberish going, "HOIPOINTEEPOITOWWW JYABATAHBAW!" It was like the most inappropriate thing that could have happened. All of a sudden, these two big metal doors bang open, really loud, and these two nurses are just cracking up, wheeling this little Asian woman on a gurney, right through the middle of our group, and she smiled and goes, "YAWCATAWHOCHAYOOWW!" and she just laughs. My wife and I just looked at each other and smiled. Later, we talked about how Jim went through the room. It’s exactly what he would have done. It’s the most irreverent thing that could have happened at the worst possible moment that it could have happened. If it had been a movie, it would have been the biggest laugh, and that’s exactly what Jim would have done. Most people were just staring at her, but I couldn’t help it… I just started laughing.

    -Steve Whitmere, http://www.muppetcentral.com/articles/interviews/whitmire3.shtml

    And THAT is how I would want to see that scene...
  5. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    Definitely. It's a biopic. Do it as accurately as possible, and none of this overly-somber junk. It's not Jim Henson.
  6. Kiki

    Kiki Active Member

    My thoughts (warning: may include spoilers)

    Okay, don't expect too much here, but I finally finished reading the script in it's entirety last night. Surprisingly, there were a number of aspects in it I found appealing, though with something like the random boozy-bird Kermit appearences, well... I didn't know what to make of those parts. Kermit seemed out of character most of the time. If the idea of having Kermit talking to Jim at certain moments was supposed to reflect Jim's inner thoughts or something, it doesn't work. I know what they're trying to do but whether it can be pulled off properly is another thing.

    I also felt that Jim's attitude appeared to be a little ignorant towards the people around him. Nothing massive, I guess. Oh- and it could be just me being an overly picky fan because I can.

    The scenes set in 1990 are very slow-moving and bleak. Though the bit where Jane and Jim hang out -after he finally calls her- is very bittersweet but also quite lovely (I actually got teary reading it, so I guess it's good that it got a reaction from one reader!). I actually really liked that bit- though straight after it became quite depressing, and reading bits where Jane witnesses Jim coughing up blood... it's-- it's not nice. And a very confronting experience for any Henson fan to read (the lower part of pg 126 is very sad).

    I *still* don't get why Piggy and Link got hitched, considering the two are like chalk and cheese and Piggy despises him (and I highly doubt Link forced her/theatened her or anything, Link being... er, Link). Yes, I suppose it's an amusing thought, but it still doesn't make sense to me at all. I'm glad everything turned out well for Piggy and Kermit, even though it was very sudden and I would've liked a little more of a twist, but eh- whatever.
    I didn't know what to make of the end. It would've been cool it they ended it on a humourous note where the Muppeteers sing "Baby Face" at the memorial service- but it's hard to know where to go for there, I guess.

    I have a couple more thoughts on the script. Will share as soon as possible, I have a cold at present though and I have a headache.
  7. hoopless

    hoopless Member

    Ok, so I just sat and read the whole script and it left me in quite a state. Thanks for the link MrBloogarFoobly. It could just be that Jim's death is one of he saddest things I know, but I would like to think that the script aided it somewhat. While I agree that maybe it is a little too much doom and gloom and I share many of the problems that everyone else has with it, but at the same time, when Jim dies in this film, I want the people watching it to be made to feel sad because they have something invested in him since beginning to watch it and that they realise what an incredible talent and gift we lost. I might come back and add to this once I've pulled myself together a bit more lol.
  8. MrBloogarFoobly

    MrBloogarFoobly Well-Known Member

    I felt moved not because the screenplay was well written; it's because I love who Jim Henson was and what he stood for. For me, I'm predisposed to feel sorrow whenever I hear anything about Jim Henson's death, because it was so unnecessary.
  9. muppetfan89

    muppetfan89 Member

    well, I just read the screenplay myself. For the most part, I liked it. I know it's only a first draft and not going to be the finished film, but here are my thoughts.

    It had a lot of good points, but some bad ones as well. Also, some things about it were inaccurate.

    For example, Jane Henson did not come up with Piggy's punch. The first season of the Muppet Show didn't have the opening with all the Muppets, that wasn't until the second season. Also, the screenplay made it seem like Jim created and and produced Sesame Street. While he was heavily involved with it, it wasn't his idea and I don't think he worked with an editior in those days of show as if he directed the episodes. Also, Oscar's voice did not come from a grouchy waiter, like the rumor has it. Carroll even said himself that there was no grouchy waiter, but that the voice came from a cab driver. I also don't think the characters would talk the way they talked with the dialogue. It wasn't all bad, but some of the dialogue seemed weak, especially with Joan Ganz Conney and Kevin Clash. The writer needs to do more research.

    Like everyone else, I also wasn't sure how I felt about the darker Muppet scenes with the drunk and depressed Kermit. I do love what the writer was trying to go for, with Kermit being in a parrell universe as Jim, but at the same time, I felt there was a little too much of that stuff. Maybe just one or two scenes of something like that and a little less extreme. The Muppets were never meant to be seen like thatm even if it is supposed to be a drama. Maybe just have the Muppets be themselves and not depressed or anything. That may have worked better.

    also, some of the scene transitions from one scene to the next are a little abrupt. I mean something is happening and suddenly we're in a new scene. It needs to be a little more smoother.

    I also liked the honest portryal of Jim. It is a little low key and depressing, but that's how he felt in his last days, from what I read, anyway. I don't know about him seeing things, though. It's an interesting idea, but I'm not sure if that can be potrayed as truth. For the most part, he was like that towards the end, but I don't think he was fully depressed as potrayed.

    My favorite part is probably the ending, it was so brilliant and beatuiful. That is until the Kermit/Piggy marriage ending. It seemed out of place to an otherwise great ending. The writer writer should've ended it after the funeral scene. We saw Jim Henson struggle and achieve his dreams in a Muppet Movie esque way.

    Overall, a good script, IMO.
  10. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I think the juxtaposition of a normal and not depressing Kermit/Muppet world would be a good way to play off of the real-life Jim Henson sequences instead of a direct parallel.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Again, I would MUCH rather see behind (or rather under) Kermit, and not have him shown in new footage negatively or positively. But I figure that if he has the same role that Kermit's inner self had in TMM, basically telling Jim to keep with it and keep going, it would really reinforce Jim's drive.

    But all and all, what I read, and I don't wanna read any more, really sounds viciously negative... and I got enough negativity of my own to put up with it in someone else's life... even if it's just a "creative" or "artistic" spin on them.
  12. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    I'm not far into reading this, but I have to nitpick a little. I understand that writers can take a little "artistic liscence," but to blatantly ignore the facts? The events on pages 13 and 14 can be viewed on YouTube here, and it is obvious that the author watched this clip... yet he still completely fabricated half the interview. Almost none of what he claims actually happened.

    From the script (what actually happened is in bold):

    INT. FLOOR, ARSENIO HALL SHOW, LA, 1990 - DAY

    ARSENIO HALL, 27, dressed in a classic 90’s purple padded
    suit, grins down the lens. We’re at a taping of his show.

    ARSENIO
    Yes... starting with a piece of
    green cloth and a couple of ping
    pong balls, my next guest created
    a dynasty that includes Sesame
    Street, Fraggle Rock and my all
    time favorite - The Muppets.
    Please help me welcome... Jim
    Henson.


    JIM HENSON, checkered sweater on, strides onto stage rather
    nervously. ARSENIO helps guide him down to the couches.

    ARSENIO (CONT’D)
    Oh what... I hear you’ve got a
    party going on? 20 years of
    Sesame Street. Is that true?

    JIM
    Well. Something like that. Ya.

    ARSENIO
    Twenty years! I can’t believe
    that. It’s been going that long?

    JIM
    (trying to laugh) Oh well it’s
    hard for us to believe too.
    We’ve been all over the world
    recently, with Big Bird and Elmo,
    doing some filming... sort of
    having our brand of fun for a
    special we made... that airs on
    Sunday.

    ARSENIO
    Oh so that’s the clip we have?
    Let’s see that.


    JIM
    (fumbling over himself)
    Oh. Yep.

    CUT TO TAPE :
    We see ERNIE from SESAME STREET in the BATH. He’s covered
    in suds, holding a RUBBER DUCK up in the air for us to see.

    ERNIE
    (sings)
    Rubber duckie, you’re the one /
    You make bath time lots of fun /
    Rubber duckie I’m awfully fond of
    you.

    INT. FLOOR, ARSENIO HALL SHOW, LA, 1990 - DAY

    ARSENIO is watching the RUBBER DUCKIE clip on a monitor.
    JIM HENSON lifts the KERMIT PUPPET onto his arm and
    prepares for the second half of his interview.

    ARSENIO smiles, talking under his breath so the audience
    isn’t interrupted.

    ARSENIO
    (hushed)
    I grew up with this stuff you
    know. I used to sing Rubber
    Ducky to my mom.

    JIM
    Oh. That’s wonderful.

    The CLIP finishes and ARSENIO springs straight back into
    INTERVIEW mode. The AUDIENCE claps enthusiastically.

    KERMIT (operated by JIM) starts nodding in appreciation.

    ARSENIO
    We’ve been joined by Kermit the
    Frog.

    KERMIT
    How are ya? Great to see you
    Arsenio.


    ARSENIO
    Good to have you back. Did you
    meet Connie backstage?

    KERMIT
    Ahhh, well no I didn’t. I
    didn’t. No, I don’t know what
    happened. Well you know what?

    (voice straining) They keep me in
    a bag.
    (lower than normal
    sounding) That’s the truth.
    That’s the truth. They keep me
    in a bag, they don’t let me out.
    You know.


    The AUDIENCE, a little thrown by the odd sounding Kermit,
    forces JIM to break his performance.

    JIM
    Excuse me. Frog in the throat

    JIM sips a glass of WATER. The AUDIENCE lets out a little
    chuckle.

    INT. BACKSTAGE, ARSENIO HALL SHOW, LA, 1990 - DAY

    KEVIN CLASH, his CLIFFORD MUPPET ready to go, watches JIM’S
    interview from the WINGS.

    He turns to a PRODUCTION MANAGER - concerned.

    KEVIN
    You got pineapple juice around?

    INT. FLOOR, ARSENIO HALL SHOW, LA, 1990 - DAY

    JIM is clearly nervous - but he continues with the
    interview anyway. ARSENIO tries to cover.

    ARSENIO
    How’s that itchy throat going
    there Kermit? You better now?

    Ever the professional, JIM launches back into character.

    KERMIT
    Much better, yes, ahhh, thank you
    Arsenio. I ate a few bad flies
    for lunch. I think, you know,
    maybe Piggy hit me a few too many
    times in the, ahhh, the old
    froggy mouth, you know.

    The AUDIENCE laughs. Everyone is relaxing again.

    ARSENIO
    It’s interesting
    you say that,
    because you have a totally
    different tone than you had the
    last time you were on here. And
    I’ve heard there’s been problems
    between you and Miss Piggy? Is
    that true?


    KERMIT
    Ahhhh... you know...
  13. Sounds creepy, and I'll poo-poo myself if it gets greenlighted.
  14. The 11th UrRu

    The 11th UrRu Member

    Ive seen this interview on youtube and I agree that the details in the script regarding it are very inaccurate....

  15. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Again, we can only hope that this is A) a really really rough draft that's going to be fixed up before it's greenlit. or B) That Henson and Disney let their script doctors in to change the tone from one of supreme misery and sadness to one of triumph and hope with just enough sadness to make it realistic.

    The script has come under fire from us for 2 reasons... the lame Robot Chicken-esque portrayal of the Muppet Characters and worst of all the sappy overly dramatic and wildly inaccurate script and portrayal of the Muppeteers, Jim especially.
  16. terrimonster

    terrimonster Member

    I'd bet dollars to donuts that both A) and B) are true.
  17. hoopless

    hoopless Member

    so much of the script is fabricated from parts of hear-say and I'm sure that it's those things that will be ironed out by Henson involvement. I would like to see this film made though, just when it's been made into a better, more accurate, less misery for misery's sake. I like the idea about keeping the Muppet parallels more like Muppets to even out the dark patches and put their positive spin on things in their "world" of sorts, but I also want to see the end stop after the memorial when both worlds collide like muppetfan89 said. I think that once it gets drafted into a version that better resembles reality it will be a really great film, and I don't think Disney or Henson would green light it until it was an accurate portrayal of events and character representation because I have faith that they respect Jim too much.
  18. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    The tragic and premature end of Jim Henson's life must be noted and felt in this film, but the focus and tone should be on Jim's life...not this morbid dreck. I see interesting possibilities, but the author is nowhere near the mark here. Disney and Henson will definitely alter 95% of this script.
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    We can hope.

    It's one of those things that bugs me. Drama and pathos are the only things considered art, and film circles rarely give any rewards or the time of day to any well done comedy. You know, sad flicks always win Oscars. Even happier films that get critical acclaim have to have some bittersweet bit to it. I'm not talking about some stupid Parody movie type deal where there's nothing but jokes back to back and no real story. I want to see SOME pathos in this movie to make Henson seem human, not so much drama and pain that make him look like Edgar Allen Poe's clinically depressed brother.

    I think they just need to hire someone else to rewrite the script. Knowing who Link Hogthrob isn't enough to qualify you as enough of a fan to tell his story. Again, if someone wants to write Jim's story, I want someone who will go out there and interview everyone he can. The Hensons, fellow Muppeteers, Joan Ganz Cooney... any one who worked with him that has interesting stories. It really seems like this guy just wanted to write a sad story and just attach Jim Henson to it and throw in a couple accuracies.
  20. Super Scooter

    Super Scooter New Member

    Agreed. Or, if he didn't have access to those interviews, he could have at least read up on the guy! Read "The Works" and "Street Gang." Wander around Muppet Wiki for a few months (if for no other reason than to have the errors from "The Works" and "Street Gang" corrected). Take in everything you can about your subject, and then you can write a story about him.


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