Arts & Culture News

Jim Henson Co. Will Make Puppets for the Next Film by Dallas Movie Studio Cinestate

S. Craig Zahler's latest novel, Hug Chickenpenny, is making the jump to film thanks to The Jim Henson Co.
S. Craig Zahler's latest novel, Hug Chickenpenny, is making the jump to film thanks to The Jim Henson Co. courtesy Cinestate
The title character of S. Craig Zahler's novel Hug Chickenpenny: The Panegyric of an Anomalous Child is a child with deformities. His teeth are all sharp fangs. One of his legs is smaller, and the other is curved and can barely hold the weight of his body. His spine is serrated and clicks as he moves. From the moment he's born, other people struggle to see the humanity in him.

Zahler and Cinestate are making a live-action film based on the tragic story, and the Jim Henson Co. — the TV and film production company behind the Muppets, Fraggle Rock and just about every kid's TV show with a puppet that doesn't look like it came from a yard sale — announced that it has obtained the screen rights. Zahler will direct.

The book tells the story of Hug's life, beginning at birth, when his mother died. Hug ends up in an orphanage where he's mocked and pitied for his deformities and is eventually adopted as a makeshift pet and medical project by a doctor who studies human abnormalities.

Zahler has been one of the key assets in Cinestate's rise to success in the film and publishing industry. He wrote and directed Cinestate's first film, the brutal western Bone Tomahawk starring Kurt Russell, and recently oversaw the release of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Brawl in Cell Block 99 starring Vince Vaughn. He also wrote the script for Cinestate's upcoming horror film Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich and wrote and is tapped to direct Vaughn and Mel Gibson for his upcoming gritty crime drama Dragged Across Concrete.

In a recent interview, Cinestate founder Dallas Sonnier told the Dallas Observer that Vaughn will star in Hug Chickenpenny along with an unnamed actor who is "one of the biggest brands in Hollywood."
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.