1 The Muppet Mindset: Muppetology 101: Progressions of the Fraggle Rock Movie

Jun 4, 2012

Muppetology 101: Progressions of the Fraggle Rock Movie

Ryan Dosier - Welcome to summer school, class! If you had studied harder maybe you wouldn't be here... but I'm pretty sure you're all glued to your seats after our Muppet Labs lesson so maybe that's why you're here. Anyway... have students will teach I always say! And after last week's exciting revelation of two new writers for the Fraggle Rock movie, what better subject to discuss than the complicated and frustrating seven year history of this project? Here we go!
  • 2005
    • Fraggle Rock movie project first proposed by The Jim Henson Company in a press release during its 50th anniversary. 
    Ahmet Zappa
  • 2006
    • In an interview, Brian Henson says, "Yes, we are writing a Fraggle Rock movie and trying to pull it together. We want the movie to do something that sort of stands next to the Fraggle Rock series rather than be a continuation of the show."
    • In a press release, The Jim Henson Company stated that the film was indeed in the works with a script treatment being written by Ahmet Zappa.
    • Ahmet Zappa discusses his plans for the film in an interview with MTV. States that he expects the movie to hit theaters in 2009, wants celebrity cameos, new songs, and lots of puppets. 
    Cory Edwards
  • 2008
    • Yet another press release from The Jim Henson Company reveals that the Weinstein Company would be distributing the film with a new writer/director Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked), with Ahmet Zappa moved to Executive Producer spot.
    • In the press release, Lisa Henson stated, "Our previous partnership with the Weinstein Company has proven to be a wonderful collaboration and we are confident that joining with them on this project will ensure audiences young and old will enjoy meeting Red, Gobo and the whole Fraggle gang. With Cory Edwards directing, this new Fraggle adventure will bring an exciting energy while honoring the heart, joy and hope of the original series."
    • Edwards stated, "Jim Henson's work has had a huge influence on my life, so to get the chance to bring 'Fraggles' to the big screen is fantastic. Both Lisa and Harvey [Weinstein] have been very enthusiastic and supportive of my vision of this film. It's my goal to make Fraggle fans happy, as well as make a great stand-alone fantasy adventure film" in the same press release.
  • 2009
    • On his blog, Cory's Curiousities, Edwards discussed the film's music ("We are talking to some big people about being involved. MAJOR names. Everyone agrees that this music has to be more than 'kids rock,' or sing-songy stuff that is merely tolerable for adults."), script ("The other update is that I had a substantial creative meeting over at Henson on some bigger issues with the script. As excited as everyone has been about the screenplay, there were some larger, lingering notes. Notes about certain themes, about the length of time we spend in certain locations or on a certain character's story."), and delays in the project ("All parties are circling up to keep this ball moving down the field (although it's always more like pushing a boulder up a hill). For those of you who are frustrated and impatient about how long this is taking, Welcome To The Movie Business! This is nothing new. Each project of this size involves huge amounts of money and lots of people (and multiple companies) agreeing on the same creative, financial and strategic plans. And then some of those plans take a lot of time to execute.")
    • Entertainment Weekly magazine featured this blurb in its December 2009 issue:  Director Cory Edwards (Hoodwinked) tells EW he is overseeing a big-screen revamp of the Henson-created Fraggle Rock, the much-beloved '80s TV show about tiny Muppet-esque creatures. "We've got a script we're very excited about, but it's been a very tricky balance," reveals Edwards. "We have to appeal to 10-year-olds as well as the nostalgic 30- and 40-year-olds." The latter camp need not worry about an excess of CGI jiggery-pokery. "This is old-school Muppet tricks," reassures Edwards. "I think it's more important to the fans than it would have been to Jim. He loved any tool of creation. But yeah, we're going to do puppets."
  • 2010
    • Numerous production holdups begin to surface this year. Edwards is the main news source on his blog with updates on the delays, mostly pinning the problems on the Weinstein Company. Said Edwards in April 2010, "There are many crazy things going on behind the scenes to get the film funded and to get the Weinstein Company completely committed. I'm very, very frustrated with the lack of progress, to put it lightly. The script is GOOD, guys. I'm excited about it and I stand by it...I'm at a loss. I'm ready to go, but the big decision-makers are not. I've become very personally invested in this thing, and I desperately want to give you all the Fraggle movie you've been dreaming of. I get goosebumps when I think about the movie that could be. I think it's still possible. However, I'm sad to say that you may not hear any updates on Fraggle Rock for a long time."
    • In May, Edwards was interviewed by The Muppet Mindset and provided a bit more insight into the film.
    • In June, Edwards posted on his blog that Weinstein had begun searching for a new screenwriter for the project. He, again, blames this on Weinstein's desire for an "edgier" Fraggle Rock. "I have said repeatedly that I will do my very best to make this Fraggle movie relevant and modern, to compete with everything else out there. But what I will NOT do is sabotage what made the property beloved in the first place." 
  • 2011
    • Edwards tells Entertainment Weekly that the project is no longer under the Weinstein Company anymore. Later that month, Craig Shemin revealed that the film will be put on hold until another production company is found for it.
    • In October, the New Regency Company purchased the production rights for the film from The Jim Henson Company. New Regency is the studio behind the Alvin & the Chipmunks and Marmaduke big-screen adaptations.
  • 2012
    • In May, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that two new writers had been hired to pen the script for the Fraggle Rock movie project: Jim Byrkit and Alex Manugian, two co-writers of the Academy Award-winning animated film Rango.
Well... that's that! A very brief breakdown of the progression of the Fraggle Rock feature film project since 2005. Hopefully we'll actually see the film come to fruition this time.






The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

2 comments:

  1. Great history article Ryan! :) Here's hoping things work out this time for the Fraggles.

    Next, you should try and tackle the frustrating history of The Dark Crystal Sequel.

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  2. I'd really like to see a HD update of a few key episodes done in 3d animation. If they could use the original remaster audio, and rotoscope the animation using the most modern animation tools, it could keep the original charm of the puppetry while adding a huge amount of depth to the environments! The one thing that doesn't translate well in the series is the 80s video quality and the limited set designs.

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