The Happytime Murders has been in the works since 2008, with STX Entertainment stepping in last summer to put Brian Henson’s R-rated puppet crime movie back in development. It’s been several months since the last update on the long-gestating project, but it looks as though things are finally picking up, as Jamie Foxx is in talks to star in the film — but is he a man, or is he a puppet?

Deadline reports that Foxx is in negotiations to join The Happytime Murders, in which he’ll play the role of (human) LAPD Detective Edwards, who must re-team with his old (puppet) partner to solve a series of murders. Described as Avenue Q meets L.A. Confidential, The Happytime Murders is also reminiscent of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? — another noir-inspired film that featured both human and non-human characters.

Brian Henson, the son of late, great master puppeteer Jim Henson, will direct The Happytime Murders based on a script by Todd Berger and Dee Robertson, and Erich and Jon Hoeber (Red and Red 2). The story features a classic mismatched detective pairing, with Foxx’s controlling and stubborn human cop forced to work alongside an alcoholic puppet cop with a troubled past. Together, the unlikely duo set out to solve a series of grisly murders involving the former stars of children’s TV series The Happytime Gang, all of whom led scandalous lives contradicting their squeaky-clean fictional personas.

With casting now underway, it shouldn’t be much longer before The Happytime Murders finally hits theaters. Foxx appears next in the remake of French thriller Sleepless Night, and plays Little John opposite Taron Egerton in Robin Hood: Origins. He also stars in Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver.

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