Flight of the Conchords’ own Rhymenoceros, Bret McKenzie, has signed on to pen the script and write the music for “Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas,” based on the 1970s ABC special from the Jim Henson Company.
Henson’s 1977 TV special was based on the children’s book of the same name by Russell Hoban. McKenzie also has the option to direct the new adaptation, which follows a poor otter family who risks everything for the chance to win the cash prize of a talent contest for Christmas, but a decision has not yet been made. The ABC special used the classic Henson puppet technology that made Henson’s “The Muppets” famous and even included an introduction by Kermit the Frog.
With McKenzie’s attachment, the package will be shopped to buyers, as no distributor is currently on board. The family movie will be a co-production between the Jim Henson Company, Pacific Electric Picture Company and Snoot Entertainment.
McKenzie is no stranger to the world of Jim Henson projects: He was the music supervisor for 2011’s “The Muppets” — which won an Academy Award for best original song for “Man or Muppet” — and 2014’s “Muppets Most Wanted.”
McKenzie is also currently developing “Bob the Musical!” for Disney as well as the Warner Bros. comedy “Moonland.” He’s best known as half (along with Jemaine Clement) of the musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords, who starred in the HBO series “Flight of the Conchords.” He also appeared in the first and third “Lord of the Rings” movies as Lindir, a role he reprised for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” McKenzie is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.