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."