The Happytime Murders sounds like one of the most innovative projects currently in development, mixing film noir with comedy and puppets, a blending of genres that has so much potential to be absolutely genius if done well.

Cameron Diaz was in talks to star back in 2010, but Katherine Heigl is now set to take her place. Two early pieces of concept art have now surfaced, via Collider, and they look beyond brilliant.

“In a world where puppets co-exist with humans as second class citizens, puppet private eye and disgraced ex-cop, Phil Phillips, is hot on the trail of the serial killer who murdered his brother and is now targeting the cast members of the famous 80s television show, “The Happytime Gang.” As the killings continue, Phil’s former flame, Jenny, is next on the list. It’s up to Phil and his ex-partner, Detective Edwards, to find the culprit, but as bad blood and old resentments resurface the clues start pointing to the only viable suspect, Phil himself. Now he’s on the run with only his wits and hard headed determination, as he tries to solve, “The Happytime Murders.””

Tell me that doesn’t sound perfect to you.

I dare you.

Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson (American puppet pioneer and creator of The Muppets), will be returning behind the camera for his first feature since 1996’s Muppet Treasure Island, having since focused on directing and producing television, including the likes of Farscape. His credits also include my favourite Christmas film of all time, The Muppet Christmas Carol, which just adds to the awesomeness already surrounding this project.

The script comes from Todd Berger, whose work includes Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Furious Five and the recent The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol.

And if these two pieces of concept art are anything to go by, the film is going to be pure genius. As usual with the second image, you can click to enlarge.

(For some reason, I can’t help but think of the episode of Angel, Smile Time, in which David Boreanaz’s Angel is turned into a puppet – so much so that I’ve embedded the clip below, just because Puppet Angel is brilliant.)

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