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Would It Be Possible: Henson/Whitmire/Kermit Biopic?

JimAndFrank

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Okay, look. I am very well aware that Muppeteer biopics have been discussed on other threads many, many times in the past. However, those discussions seemed to always lean toward the negative and I think I know why.

In discussing the actual structure of the film, nobody seems to be able to figure out how a life as complex and amazing as Jim's could be presented to an audience. I have to admit that 53 years would not be easy to squeeze into a 2-3 hour film. Which is why I'd suggest that the film focus on both of Kermit's performers, from Steve's audition with Jim to his first performance as Kermit.

If you could make the focus of the film-how and why Kermit has become the wonderful character he is- then there would be a solid reason to explore his puppeteers lives. the storyline could follow Steve, but still have flashbacks to Jim's earlier days and the projects and moments leading up to the Muppet Show. There would still be room to explore the dynamics and friendships of the core Muppet team as well as family life. The film could show the world the real magic of the Muppets- the people.

As for the title of the film, I think the answer is quite obvious:

'Bein' Green' or 'Bein' Green: The True Kermit Story'

Of course, this is just one of many funny thoughts running round my head while I sit halfway down the stairs. The amount of legal negotiating between Sesame, Henson and Disney would be beyond ridiculous. However, I'd still like to know what you guys think about the idea.
 

Muppet Master

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That sounds like a good idea, but what company would make it, probably Disney, but with documentaries, a lot of different companies take charge.
 

D'Snowth

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They've tried it before.

A script for a Henson biopic has even been written and shopped around, but it's been deemed too disrespectful that it's never been greenlit into an actual movie. I think the script was available online at one point, or at least a few pages of it - the climax of the movie had Jim in sort of a state of madness that he was losing his mind in his final days and hallucinating that his characters were coming to life and talking to him, which, as most of us know, Jim never held any sentimental value in any of the puppets he or his team built, they were nothing more than mere tools to him (unlike, say, Caroll, who would apologize to a puppet if he accidentally dropped it).
 

JimAndFrank

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They've tried it before.

A script for a Henson biopic has even been written and shopped around, but it's been deemed too disrespectful that it's never been greenlit into an actual movie. I think the script was available online at one point, or at least a few pages of it - the climax of the movie had Jim in sort of a state of madness that he was losing his mind in his final days and hallucinating that his characters were coming to life and talking to him, which, as most of us know, Jim never held any sentimental value in any of the puppets he or his team built, they were nothing
more than mere tools to him (unlike, say, Caroll, who would apologize to a puppet if he accidentally dropped it).
I'm aware of the 'Muppet Man' script and I'm glad it never really took off. The whole concept was way off the mark. Like you said, it consisted of Jim having hallucinations- something completely unnecessary. The script also hinted at a parallel plot of a middle aged, alcoholic Kermit, which is a stupid idea from start to finish. I think a script based on reality would be the only suitable format.
 

Drtooth

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The Muppet Man treatment highlighted everything I hate about Biopics. They distort the truth for the sake of storytelling. That I understand. But they have to be so freaking Oscar-Baity. I mean, sure, the one about Walt Disney and the Mary Poppins author was pretty biased pro-Disney side. I'm sure if anyone else handled it the thing would be pro-author and Disney would have been some sort of drug addicted pervert trying to bleed her dry of her money somehow.

But the whole Robot Chicken/Family Guy cutscene bit played painfully straight was uncalled for. There's a difference between adding drama to the situation and making the entire thing a dreary, muddy, dank tunnel with no chance of light penetrating it. I'm sure depressed as heck Muppets bit would play as Peter Griffin says, "This is worse than the time Kermit the Frog became an alcoholic," but as a drawn out dramatic moment for a Bio-Pic? Not so much.

And the hallucinating Jim Henson thing? Classy. I don't wanna put Jim in a Saint situation, but I don't think he was ever as morose and melancholy as this piece of crap that was thankfully never made sets him up to be. Though there would be merits in a parallel film about another puppeteer, just not one with fake Muppets haunting someone never haunted by them.
 

Iscah

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The first hurdle to get through would be Disney's unwillingness to show the Muppets as puppets. But if that was out of the way...

I think if it's done well, there could be potential in involving the Muppets - or at least Kermit - as 'real' characters in it. Kermit has an awareness/acceptance of the fact that he's "just a puppet" in that odd alternate reality they sometimes slip into. (The others are sometimes aware but - as far as I've seen - never comfortable about it.) It's something with potential to play around with. Maybe use Kermit as some kind of narrator/storyteller/framing-device.
 

D'Snowth

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Well the problem too is at the time Jim was still alive and actively working, he owned all of the properties that he created, so the SST Muppets, the Classic Muppets, the Fraggles, the Creature Shop creations, all of those he owned. Now, his properties are owned by different companies since 2000/2001 or so: Sesame Workshop now owns the SST Muppets, EM.TV owned the Classic Muppets then JHC bought them back and sold them to Disney who now owns them, and JHC still owns the Fraggles and others, so there would be a lot of legal headaches to get the various different parties to cooperate to allow clearance for the use of the characters or their likenesses in such a film. Disney is somehow willing to let SW use Kermit occasionally - usually in an older insert, but JHC has to edit out his involvement in those one-shot specials like the TALES FROM MUPPETLAND specials, or EMMET OTTER and such.
 
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