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The Jim Henson Company Is Making an 'Office Meets Harry Potter' Fantasy Comedy With Christoph Waltz

Christoph Waltz attends an Alita: Battle Angel photocall at the Villamagna Hotel on January 25, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
Christoph Waltz attends an Alita: Battle Angel photocall at the Villamagna Hotel on January 25, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

A rudderless young man begins to suspect something’s a little off about the London firm where he’s just landed an entry-level gig—and he’s not wrong. For instance: one of the middle managers is secretly a shape-shifting goblin. That’s the set-up for The Portable Door, a book series set to become a movie with some very cool talent behind it.

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The Portable Door—based on Tom Holt’s series of satirical fantasy novels that begins with the title book (a later entry is titled You Don’t Have to Be Evil to Work Here, But It Helps)—is getting the big-screen treatment, taking us into the world of the mysterious J.W. Wells & Co., a seemingly ordinary corporate firm that (surprise!) specializes in magic.

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The Jim Henson Company (The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance) will co-produce, which no doubt means it’ll be bringing its own magical touch to the special effects. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the company has high hopes for the project, with CEO Lisa Henson praising its “crowd-pleasing franchise potential” as well as “its relatable, gritty humor made popular in shows like The Office, and its rich, Harry Potter-like, high-fantasy setting.”

As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Christoph Waltz (Alita: Battle Angel) is set to star as “charismatic villain Humphrey Wells, the CEO of the company, [who] is disrupting the world of magic by bringing modern corporate strategy to ancient magical practices,” with Guy Pearce (Alien: Covenant) playing “the shape-shifting goblin trapped in the organization’s middle management.” The OA’s Patrick Gibson will play befuddled protagonist Paul Carpenter, with TV veterans Jeffrey Walker directing and Leon Ford adapting the script.

The Portable Door sounds intriguing—not just because we love to see Waltz in anything, and he’ll definitely make an excellent boss-from-hell type, but that’s certainly a big part of it. The film is still in the pre-production stages so there’s zero word on a release date, but we’ll be keeping our comedic-fantasy radars alert for more.

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DISCUSSION

This is such a weird combination of things. I love it.