It took Jason Segel to rescue the Muppets from the TV movie hellsphere in 2011 and it looks like Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s involvement is what is required to blow dust off of the Fraggle Rock brand. According to Variety, JGL will produce and star in a big screen Fraggle Rock adventure for New Regency, The Henson Company, and Lisa Henson, though there is no word yet on any other attached talent or a release date.
Unsurprisingly, this isn’t just another project for Gordon-Levitt, who said all the right things (save for the word “frisky”) when talking about this opportunity.
“The first screen personas I ever loved were Henson creations, first on ‘Sesame Street,’ and then on ‘Fraggle Rock,’” Gordon-Levitt said. “Jim Henson’s characters make you laugh and sing, but they’re also layered, surprising, and wise. From Oscar the Grouch, to Yoda, to the Fraggles. I’ve never stopped loving his work, even as a young frisky man, and on into adulthood. Collaborating with Lisa Henson makes me confident we can do something that Jim would have loved. I’m grateful and excited to be working with New Regency on this project.”
Though the primary audience for a fraggle movie will be children, Gordon-Levitt will also be challenged to please OG Fraggle Rock fans who will be buying tickets to introduce their kids to Gobo, Red, Wembley, and the doozers. Winning over the Henson old guard should also be a priority.
Though Segel and Nicholas Stoller earned good reviews and solid box office receipts with The Muppets, there were behind-the-scenes contributors from the old days that were less than pleased with the film’s tone, including Frank Oz. The involvement of the Henson family has to earn this project a bit of a initial good will, though. And that’s not nothing considering the misguided direction that the 2010 Fraggle Rock project was headed toward before it eventually crashed and burned. Here’s hoping that Gordon-Levitt and New Regency know enough to build off of their respect for Jim Henson and never let the notion of “edgy” fraggles, doozers with attitude, or meth-cooking gorgs cross their minds.