Jeff Bridges to Lead Jim Henson Company’s Live-Action Monster Film ‘Grendel’

Jeff Bridges is turning to the world of practical puppeteering for an upcoming monster film from the Jim Henson Company called “Grendel.”

Bridges will executive produce and be the lead of the latest feature from The Jim Henson Company, the company announced Friday, May 10. “Grendel” will follow the legendary monster at the heart of the epic poem Beowulf, and it will allow the monster to tell his side of the story.

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In addition to Bridges as Grendel, the ensemble cast includes Dave Bautista as Beowulf, Bryan Cranston as King Hrothgar, Sam Elliott as The Dragon, Thomasin McKenzie as Queen Wealhtheow, and Aidan Turner as Unferth.

Composer, producer, and songwriter T Bone Burnett will also star in a rare acting role as The Shaper, and he’ll also provide original songs for the film.

Robert D. Krzykowski is set to direct from a screenplay he adapted from John Gardner’s critically acclaimed novel of the same name. The Jim Henson Creature Shop, which recently worked on “Five Night’s at Freddy’s” and is also known for the “Dark Crystal” remake series and “Where the Wild Things Are,” will handle the practical creature work and design.

“Grendel” is produced by Brian Henson and Vince Raisa for The Jim Henson Company, along with Robert D. Krzykowski and Jay Glazer, who together acquired the rights to the novel in 2020. Dennis Berardi and Jon D. Wagner are also producing.

Bridges is executive producing alongside John Sayles, Tamara Birkemoe, and Joe Jenckes of Ashland Hill Media Finance.

“‘Grendel’ represents everything I love about the movies,” writer/director Krzykowski said. “John Gardner’s mad masterpiece cleverly tackles what it is to be human through the wild-eyed lens of a monster. It’s an honor to work with such a remarkable group of storytellers, all of whom seek to bring something wonderful and unexpected to audiences now.”

“The Jim Henson Company is internationally known for our world creation and character creation. And we are most inspired when a character has a richly authentic personality, and can be sophisticated, thought-provoking, and believable,” said Brian Henson, producer and Chair of the Board of The Jim Henson Company. “Grendel is the ultimate character, and will be brought to life using our Creature Shop’s cutting-edge practical techniques in combination with Dennis Berardi’s amazing digital effects.”

The film is being cast by Engine Casting. Shooting will begin later this year in Europe, with Palisades Park Pictures launching international sales ahead of Cannes at the upcoming Marché du Film. CAA Media Finance and UTA Independent Film Group are co-repping the rights for North America. Ashland Hill Media Finance is financing.

Tamara Birkemoe, CEO Palisades Park Pictures, said in a statement, “We are delighted to be introducing this elevated, high-concept story to our distributors around the world. With this brilliant cast, Bob’s vivid vision and the extraordinary creative track record of our friends at The Jim Henson Company, we cannot wait to see ‘Grendel’ come to life.”

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