Marvel Icons Cast in New Jim Henson Project

in Entertainment, Movies

A montage featuring two male filmmakers, the iconic Jim Henson Pictures logo with a silhouette of a puppeteer inspired by Beowulf, set against a dramatic cloudy sky.

Credit: Inside the Magic

Unless it involves some wide variety of interstellar creatures from another world, Marvel and Jim Henson Studios are two elements that don’t seem like they’d go together. However, a new adaptation of the Beowulf legend is bringing them together in a strange and unusual way.

Split image featuring Jeff Bridges in Iron Man, sitting in a powered suit on the left, and Dave Bautista as Drax in *Guardians of the Galaxy*, resembling Beowulf, pondering on the right.
Credit: Inside the Magic

Both studios are iconic for creating imaginative new worlds filled with bizarre creatures and over-the-top characters. So it makes complete sense that a story about monsters, Vikings, and heroes that are larger than life would want to utilize both elements.

Related: ‘Iron Man’ Confirmed to Return This Summer Following Years-Long Hiatus

An upcoming adaptation of John Gardener’s Grendel features Iron Monger and Drax the Destroyer going toe to toe as the titular monster and the legendary Beowulf, and it’s set to be a grudge match for the ages. With the cast with Jeff Bridges and Dave Bautista in the leads, as well as a support cast that features Bryan Cranston and Sam Elliot in prominent roles in the Beowulf story paired with the genius creature work of Jim Henson Studios, it’s shaping up to be a towering fantasy adventure.

Beowulf and Grendel Return to the Big Screen

The cover of John Gardner's Grendel
Credit: Book Cover by Emil Antonucci

Assuming you’ve passed high school English or have seen the 2007 motion-capture film by Robert Zemeckis with Ray Winstone in the title role, you know the essentials of Beowulf. Every night, King Hrothgar’s mead hall is attacked by a ferocious monster. Beowulf rolls in with his entourage of Geats, and a battle ensues. However, Grendel flips the script and puts the monster in the starring role. What better story for Jim Henson Studios to tell?

The official report from Deadline reads,

Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) will play the title role in Grendel, a live-action monster flick from The Jim Henson Company, for which Palisades Park Pictures is launching international sales ahead of Cannes. Directed by Robert D. Krzykowski (The Man Who Killed Hitler and Then the Bigfoot), the film’s ensemble also includes Dave Bautista (Dune: Part Two) as Beowulf, Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) as King Hrothgar, Sam Elliott (A Star is Born) as The Dragon, Thomasin McKenzie (Last Night in Soho) as Queen Wealhtheow, and Aidan Turner (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies) as Unferth. In addition to playing the role of The Shaper, famed recording artist and record producer T Bone Burnett will provide original songs for the film.”

Related: New Jim Henson Production Airs On Disney+, Three Decades After His Passing

While the role of Grendel is certainly an unusual twist for Bridges, known for his more heroic roles in films like Tron (1982) and True Grit (2010), seeing Bautista trade in the tattoos and blades of Drax the Destroyer of the Guardians of the Galaxy for Beowulf feels like ideal casting.

Marvel Stars and Monsters

A figure reminiscent of Beowulf, with a beard, wearing a headband and combat attire, holds a torch and a gun in a dimly lit cave setting.
Credit: Shangri-La Entertainment and Image Movers

While no release date has been revealed at this time, Grendel is set to premiere ahead the Cannes film Festival, generating a healthy international audience. While the original myth of Beowulf might have something of a niche fan following, there’s no denying that the phenomenal work of the Jim Henson Company (specifically Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) and the cast list above won’t generate clout.

Related: Marvel Forced To Recast ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Character

Presumably, this will be the first cinematic depiction of the Beowulf story since 2007, and that one also had a tall order of talent behind it. A cast featuring Ray Winstone, Crispin Glover, Angelina Jolie, and Anthony Hopkins performing a script penned by Neil Gaiman is a tough act to follow, but this new vision certainly has the makings of something legendary.

Are we in for a new creature feature from Jim Henson Studios? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

in Entertainment, Movies

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