Elizabeth Banks Joins Melissa McCarthy in ‘Happytime Murders’

Elizabeth Banks has joined Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph in the dark comedy “The Happytime Murders,” which began filming this week in Los Angeles.

STXfilms’ “The Happytime Murders” is centered on two clashing detectives, one human and the other a puppet, who are forced to work together to find the killer who’s murdering the former cast of “The Happytime Gang,” a classic puppet show. Brian Henson is directing.

The production companies are Henson Alternative, On the Day Productions, and STXfilms. McCarthy is producing with partner Ben Falcone, along with Brian Henson and Jeffrey Hayes. Executive producers are Lisa Henson, Dee Robertson, and John W. Hyde.

McCarthy plays the lead detective opposite longtime Henson puppeteer Bill Barretta who performs Phil Phillips, the puppet detective. Banks portrays a burlesque dancer named Jenny and Rudolph plays Bubbles, Phil’s secretary. STXfilms has set an Aug. 17, 2018, release date for “The Happytime Murders.”

Banks will next be seen in “Pitch Perfect 3,” which she also produced. Her acting credits include the “Hunger Games” movies, “40 Year Old Virgin,” “Wet Hot American Summer” and “Love & Mercy.” She has been nominated for multiple Emmys for her television appearances on “30 Rock” and “Modern Family.”

Banks is repped by UTA and Untitled Entertainment.