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STXfilms has announced that Elizabeth banks will be joining Melissa McCarthy and Maya Rudolph in Brian Henson’s comedy The Happytime Murders. Filming began in Los Angeles earlier this week. 

Henson directs from a script written by Todd Berger, Dee Robertson, Erich and Jon Hoeber, and McCarthy. Set in the underbelly of Los Angeles where puppets and humans co-exist, The Happytime Murders centres on two clashing detectives, one human and the other a puppet, who are forced to work together to solve the mystery of who is brutally murdering the former cast of The Happytime Gang, a beloved classic puppet show. 

McCarthy plays lead detective Connie Edwards opposite longtime Henson puppeteer Bill Barretta who performs Phil Phillips, the puppet detective. Banks portrays Jenny, a burlesque dancer, and Rudolph plays Bubbles, Phil’s secretary.

Producers are Brian Henson for The Jim Henson Company’s Henson Alternative, McCarthy and Ben Falcone for On The Day Productions, and Jeffrey Hayes. Lisa Henson, Dee Robertson, and John W Hyde serve as executive producers.  

Banks will next be seen in December release Pitch Perfect 3, which she stars in and also produced. She is best known for her roles in The Hunger Games franchise, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Wet Hot American Summer. She has been nominated for multiple Emmys for appearances on 30 Rock and Modern Family.

STXfilms will release The Happytime Murders in the US on August 17, 2018.