Children of Muppets creator eye 3D, digital future

Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:00pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Kermit who? Miss Piggy what? Muppets creator Jim Henson might be shocked if he looked as his company 20 years after his death. Then again, it might be exactly what he expected and wanted with his children in control.

Henson, the creator of the lovable Muppets characters, died in 1990 and in 2004, rights to older characters like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy were sold to the Walt Disney Co.

But the entertainment industry legend would likely be very happy to know his five children have picked up where he left off with The Jim Henson Company.

They are creating original characters in shows such as "Sid, the Science Kid," which has a musical special airing on June 21, and even venturing into 3D with a remake of Henson's 1982 movie, "The Dark Crystal."

Lisa Henson, daughter of the Muppets creator and CEO of The Jim Henson Co. while her brother Brian is chairman, sees making a 3D movie as a natural progression for the company.

She told Reuters her father's primary interests before he died were 3D films, computer animation and digital imagery. "The direction that filmmaking has taken over the past 20 years is very compatible with my father's views," Henson told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"He was pretty far ahead of his time, and I like to think that we have taken the company in the direction he would have chosen. I really believe that 3D will only get better."

The film "The Power of the Dark Crystal" will be made in Australia with Lisa and Brian Henson among the executive producers and modern techniques like 3D and CGI taking puppets into the modern age.   Continued...

<p>Kermit the Frog is seen in this photograph taken September 26, 2005. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>