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‘Treasure’ pic charted for Muppets

They’ve taken Manhattan, pulled off a great caper, and retooled Dickens opposite Michael Caine in last year’s “The Muppet Christmas Carol.” Now the Muppets will take to the Seven Seas in “The Muppet Treasure Island,” a loose adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Jim Henson Prods. announced Thursday.

“We’re less faithful to the original novel this time than we were with ‘Carol ,’ ” said prexy and CEO Brian Henson. “It’s a bit more Muppetized, and we twist the plot a bit more.” He wouldn’t discuss the budget, but said “Island” would get the same treatment as “Carol.”

The Great Gonzo and his sidekick Rizzo will jointly take on the original part of adventurous lad Jim Hawkins. Casting of the central character Long John Silver has not been announced; the company is looking for a major star.

Fozzie Bear is Squire Trelawney, Kermit the Frog is Captain Smollett, and the ill-fated Bunsen/Beeker science duo both play Dr. Livesey.

A likely distrib will be Disney, which landed “Carol” and has a first-look pickup deal here. The pic will set sail in late fall and has plotted course for a spring ’94 release. Locations are undetermined.

Jim Henson Prods. is also in development on the live-action version of “Pinocchio,” in a collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios and WB.

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