Ron Howard's 'Idea Man': A New Documentary on Jim Henson

Discover the enduring magic of Jim Henson's creations

by Zain ul Abedin
Ron Howard's 'Idea Man': A New Documentary on Jim Henson
© Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

Acclaimed filmmaker Ron Howard offers a deep dive into the imaginative world of Jim Henson in the touching documentary "Jim Henson: Idea Man," set to premiere on Disney+ on May 31. PEOPLE magazine has exclusively released the first trailer, providing fans with a nostalgic glimpse into the life of the mastermind behind the Muppets and other beloved franchises such as Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth.

The trailer is an evocative journey through Henson's illustrious career, highlighted by archival footage and set to the heartwarming tunes of Kermit the Frog’s "Rainbow Connection" from the 1979 classic, "The Muppet Movie." The documentary enjoys the full support of the Henson family.

It features interviews with iconic figures such as Rita Moreno and Jennifer Connelly of Labyrinth fame, alongside insights from Henson’s four children and longtime collaborators Frank Oz and Michael Firth. "Idea Man" intricately explores Henson’s extraordinary trajectory from his early days as a puppeteer on local TV to his global influence through groundbreaking shows like "Sesame Street" and "The Muppet Show." The film includes a wealth of never-before-seen materials from Henson's collection, ranging from home movies and photographs to sketches and diaries, offering an unprecedented peek at the creative process of a true visionary.

Legacy and Influence

Howard, who has transitioned from directing feature films to captivating documentaries, brings a unique touch to this project. His recent works include the 2022 releases "Thirteen Lives" and the documentary "We Feed People," adding to a rich portfolio that features "The Beatles: Eight Days a Week" and "Pavarotti." Howard’s approach to the documentary aims to mirror Henson's creativity and spirit.

"It felt incumbent upon me to infuse the audience's experience with as much of Jim's creative flavor, originality, energy, fun, and creativity as I possibly could," Howard remarked. The documentary not only celebrates Henson’s life, who passed away in 1990 at the age of 53, but also underscores the enduring appeal of his creations in the 21st century.

Disney, having acquired the Muppets characters from the Jim Henson Company in 2004, continues to honor his legacy. With "Jim Henson: Idea Man," viewers can anticipate an engaging and insightful exploration of one of the most influential figures in entertainment, whose imaginative work has left an indelible mark on the world of film and television.