The world within Labyrinth was the first of its kind to hit theaters, encapsulating the magic of Jim Henson with the worlds of popular music and stunning visuals.
Sure, we love The Dark Crystal but nobody can deny that Labyrinth started a cult craze fueled by David Bowie and the angelic face of Jennifer Connolly. How much do you know about this classic?
1. It was actually David Bowie who contributed to the baby gurgling duringDance the ‘Dance, Magic, Dance’ scene. Little fella just wasn’t taking his direction well, so Bowie stepped up to the plate and provided some clutch gurgles to push the scene along.
2. You remember all of those cool scenes where Jareth (Bowie) juggled crystal balls and manipulated them in amazing ways, right? Turns out, it wasn’t actually Bowie doing that but choreographer Michael Moschen. With Moschen’s arm tucked between Bowie and Jareth’s coat, he practiced extensively to bring those awesome effects to life through practical illusion. No CGI there, all done in the moment with a box of crystals tucked behind Jareth in case they needed to switch out quickly. Can you imagine juggling like that without being able to see your hands whatsoever?
3. While Labyrinth only made a little under 13 million at the box office, which branded it a ‘flop‘ at the time, the VHS and cult fanaticism skyrocketed the film into pop culture history. See, just goes to show — a movie doesn’t live and die at the theater.
4. Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame had written a book called Outside Over There that inspired Labyrinth. So much so, that Sendak’s people tried to get the movie halted. It didn’t work, however, and while Sendak walked-back on the objections there were a lot of grumbles about it for years after.
5. Speaking of that script, Monty Python-er Terry Jones actually wrote an early version of the Labyrinth script. There’s not much of that same story that made it into following revisions but not a bad thing to have Terry Jones helping you with your edits, right?
6. We all know Gates McFadden from TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation — but did you know she also choreographed Labyrinth under the name Cheryl McFadden? McFadden was front and center for the intricate dance and action scenes. This, folks, is how you get the pop culture fans into your movie. Bring everyone they love in and get them working!
7. Jim Henson loved musician Limahl’s haircut so much during the music video for ‘The Neverending Story‘ that he gave Jareth a similar look. And here I was thinking the only inspiration from that video would be to ride a fluffy Luck Dragon through the clouds.
8. The suit for Ludo, which was built for one person to man while filming, was very heavy at 100 pounds. Jim Henson demanded the suit be made lighter and at the lowest it could go, 75 pounds, he still demanded two people wear and operate the suit to make sure they’d be safe.
9. Thirteen now well-known actresses, including Helena Bonham-Carter and Laura Dern, auditioned for the role that would eventually go to Jennifer Connolly. Can you even imagine growing up with anyone but Connolly in that role!?
10. That owl you seen in the title sequence of the film? It’s the first ever attempted photo-realistic CGI animal in a feature film. Hard to believe it started with Labryinth but how fitting to take us into a new realm of fantasy with the innovation of computer graphics!