(BURBANK, CA – March 30, 2022) Disney Original Documentary announced today its next feature project from Academy AwardⓇ-winning director Ron Howard, Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer and Imagine Documentaries’ Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes. The upcoming documentary will be the definitive portrait of Henson, produced with the full participation and cooperation of the Henson family, and will present a fascinating and intimate look at Jim’s illustrious career creating treasured characters and revolutionizing television and film.
With never-before-seen personal archives, the film will give audiences an exciting first-person view into the life of one of the world’s most inspiring and iconoclastic creators through exclusive home movies, photographs, sketches and Henson’s personal diaries. Joining Grazer, Howard, Bernstein and Wilkes as producers is EmmyⓇ-winning Margaret Bodde (“George Harrison: Living in the Material World”). The film will be executive produced by Imagine Entertainment’s Michael Rosenberg and Disney Original Documentary’s Marjon Javadi. Howard will also be reteaming with his “Pavarotti and Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years” collaborators Mark Monroe and Paul Crowder, who serve as the writer/producer and editor/executive producer, respectively.
In his 36-year career, Jim Henson created some of the world’s most cherished characters, including classic Muppets like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy and all of “Sesame Street”’s iconic residents, including Big Bird, Grover, Cookie Monster, and Bert and Ernie. He also created beloved fantasy films like “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth,” which included iconic characters and technological advances that pushed the boundaries of the time. Tracing his life and work, the documentary will follow how the brilliant innovator came to shape the childhoods of generations to come.
In a statement, Jim Henson’s family said, “The Jim Henson Company’s archive is a treasure reflecting our father’s work, personal life and inspirations, and has been carefully maintained for the last 30 years under the leadership of archivist Karen Falk. It will be thrilling to see the story that emerges from these materials in the hands of a truly great filmmaker like Ron Howard, who has the perfect spirit and personality to tell Jim Henson’s story.
“Jim Henson transcends generations through his iconic characters, and it’s one of the many reasons why I have been a lifelong fan,” said director Howard. “I can’t wait to share a side of him and his career that people have never seen before. Henson’s limitless imagination and restless creativity is like few others and has influenced so much of our world as we know it. I’m humbled to be able to share a deeper look into his life and story.”
“Jim Henson has impacted our culture for generations, and his creative legacy continues to live on,” said Disney Original Documentary Vice President Marjon Javadi. As iconic storytellers in their own right, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Sara Bernstein and Justin Wilkes are the best auteurs to share Jim Henson’s story with the world. We’re thrilled to be partnering with the team at Imagine Documentaries and the Henson family on this undoubtedly inspirational film.”
The untitled film on Jim Henson is produced by Imagine Documentaries for Disney Branded Television under the Disney Original Documentary banner. The Disney Original Documentary banner will largely produce and acquire content for Disney+, as well as the suite of Disney Channels, with more announcements coming soon.
About Disney Original Documentary
Disney Original Documentary is committed to pushing the boundaries in non-fiction storytelling by embracing new creative voices, approaches and styles in cinema. Our goal is to build global connections by sharing authentic narratives that resonate with broad audiences. By championing stories from diverse points of view, we aim to expand Disney’s storytelling legacy and give audiences new ways of seeing themselves, and the world we live in, on screen. Disney Original Documentary programs exclusively for Disney +.
About Imagine Documentaries
Imagine Documentaries was formed in 2018 by Imagine Entertainment Chairmen Brian Grazer and Ron Howard with a focus on developing and producing premium feature documentaries and non-scripted television. Based out of New York, Imagine Docs is run by Academy Award-nominated and Emmy, Peabody and Producer’s Guild Award-winning producers Justin Wilkes and Sara Bernstein. The division expands on Imagine’s rich history in the documentary space which includes the hit documentary series Mars and Breakthrough (National Geographic) as well as the Ron Howard-directed films Jay- Z’s Made in America, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years (2017 Grammy winner for Best Music Film), Pavarotti, and the Sundance 2020 documentary feature Rebuilding Paradise (National Geographic Films). Recent releases include Julia, the definitive documentary on Julia Child, directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West (Sony Pictures Classic); Paper & Glue , directed by legendary French artist JR (MSNBC); the Tribeca Film Festival Best Documentary Short award winner Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker (MTV Films); Joe Berlinger’s Crime Scene anthology series, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel andThe Times Square Killer, which both reached the top #5 globally on Netflix; Gossip, a limited series chronicling Cindy Adams’ four-decade career at the New York Post as the “reigning queen of gossip” (Showtime); Who Are You Charlie Brown?, the definitive feature documentary on Charles Schulz (AppleTV+); Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel (Netflix); and Supervillain: The Making of Tekashi 6ix9ine (Showtime); We Are The Brooklyn Saints (Netflix); On Pointe (Disney+); The Day Sports Stood Still (HBO); Dads (Apple+); D Wade: Life Unexpected (ESPN Films); and Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band (Magnolia Pictures), Upcoming projects include the Rory Kennedy directed feature documentary, Downfall, investigating Boeing’s 737-Max airplane crashes (Netflix); Amy Poehler’s documentary feature directing debut, Lucy and Desi, on the personal and professional partnership between Lucille Ball and husband Desi Arnaz; Ron Howard’s next documentary feature film on chef Jose Andres and the World Central Kitchen organization (National Geographic Films); The Supermodels, a docuseries featuring the iconic careers of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington (AppleTV+); the Martin Scorsese-directed documentary on New York’s 1970’s music scene and the New York Dolls; and Black and Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong (AppleTV+).
Media Contacts for Disney Branded Television / Disney Original Documentary:
Kristin Montalbano, 202-912-3244, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nadia Ahmadein, 732-694-8187, email@example.com
Media Contact for Imagine
Sage Shah, 310-858-2135, firstname.lastname@example.org