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Jim Henson Idea Man Title Card
Released May 31, 2024
Duration 108 minutes[1]
Director Ron Howard
Music David Fleming
Studio Imagine Documentaries
Disney Original Documentaries
Rated TV-PG
Jim Henson Idea Man Poster

Poster

Jim Henson Idea Man Thumbnail

Streaming thumbnail

Jim Henson Idea Man still 01
Jim Henson Idea Man still 02

Jim Henson: Idea Man is a documentary covering the life and career of Jim Henson, released by Disney+ on May 31, 2024.[2] The film premiered prior to its streaming release at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival on May 18.[3] It also received a limited theatrical release through AMC Theatres (in Los Angeles and New York City) from May 24 to 30.[4]

Ron Howard directed the film "with the full participation and cooperation of the Henson family" using never before seen archival material and notes from Henson's journal.[5] The film is produced by Imagine Documentaries, in association with Diamond Docs, for Disney Television under the "Disney Original Documentary" banner.

The film's title is borrowed from a three minute short created by Henson in 1966 called The Idea Man. In establishing a look and feel for the film, Howard notes, "I was constantly looking for ways to honor Jim Henson’s aesthetic and sensibility and playfulness in the original footage, whether they were interviews or some of the animations that we did to help tell the story." One element of Henson's career that was utilized was a set for interviews modeled after The Cube.[2]

Interviewees include Frank Oz, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Connelly,[2] Dave Goelz, Lisa Henson, Brian Henson,[6] Heather Henson, Alex Rockwell,[7] and Fran Brill.[8] Steve Whitmire contributed some of his own personal footage to be used in the film.[9] The Henson family gave filmmakers unprecedented access to The Jim Henson Company Archives maintained by Karen Falk to feature rare home movies, photographs, production documents and personal effects.[5] The film utilizes extended excerpts from interviews with Henson on The Orson Welles Show and during his photo session with Norman Seeff.

In addition to Howard, Imagine Documentaries' Brian Grazer, Sara Bernstein, Justin Wilkes, and Margaret Bodde served as producers, with Michael Rosenberg and Marjon Javadi as executive producers. Also attached were Mark Monroe as writer-producer and Paul Crowder as editor-executive producer.[5] David Fleming composed the score for the film.[10]

Official Description[]

“Jim Henson Idea Man” takes us into the mind of this singular creative visionary, from his early years puppeteering on local television to the worldwide success of Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and beyond. Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard captures Henson's restless creativity, ambition, and artistic evolution in the style and spirit of his complex subject, an artist who revolutionized television, inspired generations, and created some of the world’s most beloved characters. Featuring new interviews with Henson's closest collaborators and children, as well as never-before-seen materials from his personal archives—including home movies, photographs, sketches, and diaries— Howard brings us an entertaining and insightful look at a man whose boundless imagination changed the world.
Disney+ Press Kit

Interviewees[]

Note: In addition to the newly recorded interviews with Henson's children and colleagues, the documentary also utilizes archival interviews with several late collaborators, including Jerry Juhl,[11] Jon Stone,[11] Caroll Spinney,[12] and Lew Grade,[13] plus features material from numerous archival interviews with Jim and Jane Henson.

Trailer[]

Credits[]

Directed by: Ron Howard
Written by: Mark Monroe
Producers: Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Sara Bernstein, Margaret Bodde, Justin Wilkes, Mark Monroe, Christopher St. John
Executive Producers: Paul Crowder, Meredith Kaulfers, Michael Rosenberg
Score composed by: David Fleming
Score produced by: Hans Zimmer
Edited by: Sietta Neal, Paul Crowder
Limbo Puppet Built by Jim Henson's Creature Shop
Limbo Puppeteers: Brian Henson, Neil Sterenberg
Special Thanks: Brian Henson, Cheryl Henson, Heather Henson, Lisa Henson And The Entire Jim Henson Family
Producers Wish to Acknowledge: Cynthia Barron, Peter Brooke, Pete Coogan, Melissa Creighton, Kourtney Day, Carla DellaVedova, Karen Falk, Nicole Goldman, Savannah Heller, Joe Hennes, Brian Jay Jones, Tomoko Kawamoto, Rollie Krewson, Chris Lytton, Nolan Marks, Barbara Miller, The Muppets Studio, John Nelson, Connie Peterson, Jordon Pritsker, Shannon Robles, Debra Shapiro, Craig Shemin, Amy Smith, Susie Tofte, Steve Whitmire

Promotion & Tie-ins[]

Ron Howard and Lisa Henson

Ron Howard with Lisa Henson at the Cannes Film Festival premiere of the film.

Idea Man MV3D

Poster on display at Muppet*Vision 3D Florida.

The release date for the film along with an exclusive "first look" was published by Vanity Fair on April 11, 2024.[2]

A trailer for the film was released on April 24, 2024.[14] The film was also promoted as the lead title in the May 2024 installment of "Next On Disney+" released on May 1, 2024.[15]

On April 20, 2024, Deadline released a video interview as part of their "Contenders Television" series with director Ron Howard talking about the film. (YouTube) Ron Howard posted a Q&A video to his Instagram on May 28, 2024. (Instagram)

The film premiered on May 18 prior to its streaming release at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival with Ron Howard and Lisa Henson in attendance.[3] Howard and Lisa Henson appeared in an extended video interview with Deadline Hollywood about the film from the festival. (YouTube) On May 24, 2024, the Vidiots Foundation in Los Angeles's Eagle Rock neighborhood hosted a screening of the film followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jim Hemphill with Ron Howard (director), Margaret Bodde (producer), Paul Crowder (producer and editor) and David Fleming (composer). (YouTube)

On May 29, just days before its premiere on Disney+, Howard made appearances on Good Morning America and Live! with Kelly and Mark to promote the documentary. Following the film's release, Howard appeared on the June 2, 2024, episode of the "Conan O'Brien Needs a Friend" podcast to discuss the film, and appeared on the June 6 episodes of The Beat, The View and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Howard and Cheryl Henson later appeared on the June 18 edition of The Kelly Clarkson Show. Howard appeared in a sketch for the June 19th episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote the film.

A soundtrack album of David Fleming's score was released concurrent with the film on streaming platforms. A reprint of Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal scheduled for release on August 27, 2024, includes a promotional sticker advertising the film and a new forward written by director Ron Howard.

Sources[]

  1. Jim Henson Idea Man on Disney+
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Vanity Fair "First Look: Ron Howard Enters the World of Jim Henson" by Esther Zuckerman, April 11, 2024
  3. 3.0 3.1 Festival de Cannes "Cannes Classics 2024" Press Release, April 25, 2024
  4. The Jim Henson Legacy Newsletter #56
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Deadline "Ron Howard, Brian Grazer Team For Documentary On Jim Henson" by Matthew Carey, March 30, 2022
  6. Official Trailer, April 24, 2024
  7. Jim Henson Idea Man | Official Clip
  8. LaughingPlace.com Movie Review: Ron Howard’s “Jim Henson Idea Man” Documentary Showcases the Life and Work of a Modern Genius May 18, 2024
  9. Jake's Happy Nostalgia Show episode 177, 20:05 mark Dec 16, 2023
  10. Medium Composer David Fleming On “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” Hans Zimmer & More — “Paltrocast” Exclusive February 12, 2024
  11. 11.0 11.1 Footage originally recorded for the 1994 documentary The World of Jim Henson
  12. Footage originally recorded in 2001 for The Archive of American Television
  13. Footage originally recorded for the 1984 documentary Henson's Place
  14. "Jim Henson Idea Man: Official Trailer" - April 24, 2024 (YouTube)
  15. "Next On Disney+: May 2024" - May 1, 2024 (YouTube)

See also[]

External links[]

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