The designers at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop will work with Zahler to create and build the animatronic puppet versions of the titular character, Hug. Zahler will also direct and produce along with Dallas Sonnier of Cinestate.
The story, described as a gothic Dickensian take on “The Elephant Man,” centers on a hopeful, physically asymmetrical boy who faces challenges in an orphanage and the weird and dangerous world outside. The white-haired baby inspires both ire and pity at the orphanage, until the day that an elderly eccentric adopts him as a pet.
Zahler is the writer-director of “Bone Tomahawk” and “Brawl in Cell Block 99.” The latter starred Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Carpenter, and Don Johnson and premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2017. His police thriller, “Dragged Across Concrete,” starring Mel Gibson and Vaughn, is currently in post-production.
Zahler is also the author of several novels, including ”A Congregation of Jackals,” nominated for both the Peacemaker and the Spur Awards; ”Mean Business on North Ganson Street;” and ”Wraiths of the Broken Land,” with an adaptation set up with Fox with Ridley Scott attached to direct.
The Jim Henson Company is a producer on the Melissa McCarthy noir comedy “The Happytime Murders,” which is due out on Aug. 17 from STXfilms.