With the news of a reboot in the works (which we are still sore about), we thought we’d revisit the 80’s cult classic that gave us awesome songs, a CGI owl and, of course, David Bowie in a wig and tights. To commiserate the tragic news of David Bowie’s death, here are 13 little-known secrets behind Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.
1. Michael Jackson and Sting were heavily considered for the role of Jareth the Goblin King.
As much as we love the two musicians, I think we all know the film wouldn’t have been the same without Bowie’s input. Imagine the doom-synthesizers of ‘Within You’ being turned into a cheesy disco tune. No thank you, Michael!
2. The famous ‘voodoo who do’ line was taken from a 1947 comedy film starring Cary Grant.
“You remind me of the babe…” was originally “you remind me of the man….” and was taken from a line in The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer.
3. Jim Henson’s son Brian provided the voice for Hoggle.
While he provided the voice for Hoggle, it was Shari Weiser, a little person who operated the puppet from the inside. Brian Henson followed his fathers steps and became a puppeteer, director, producer and now chairman, of The Jim Henson Company.
4. David Bowie recorded the voice of the baby in ‘Magic Dance’.
“One of the backing singers, Diva, had this cute little baby – who couldn’t put two gurgles together. And it wouldn’t work for me. I kicked it. I did everything to make it scream, but it wouldn’t. It really buttoned its lips. So I ended up doing the gurgles, so I’m the baby on that track as well.” — David Bowie.
5. In the ending of the original script, Sarah punches Jareth in the jaw which turns him into a goblin.
Early revisions of the Labyrinth would have made for a very interesting movie. In the final confrontation, Sarah calls Jareth a “miserable creep”, punches him in the jaw and kicks him in the shin. He then shrinks into a sniveling little goblin complaining “no one cares what I want!”. Other changes included no Bog of Eternal Stench, and baby Toby being called Freddie!
6. Sarah Jessica Parker auditioned for the role of Sarah.
Sarah Jessica Parker, along with other famous actresses such as Ally Sheedy, Marisa Tomei and Helena Bonham Carter all audition for the role. Jim Henson rightfully chose Jennifer Connelly for the role due to her flawless audition.
“And when Jenny walked in, she was the right person, and it was one of those great little moments. She did a wonderful reading and she’s a bright, intelligent actress who takes direction well and everything was just right.”
7. Labyrinth has a manga sequel called ‘Return to Labyrinth’.
Return to Labyrinth is a four part manga sequel that was written by Jake T. Forbes and illustrated by Chris Lie. It follows the story of a now teenage Toby, who is called to the Labyrinth to become the next Goblin King! Unfortunately the publishers Tokyopop were closed down in 2011, which makes these books rare to get hold.
8. Toby Froud, who played baby Toby, now works as a puppeteer.
Toby Froud’s father, Brian Froud worked as the film’s conceptual designer, so it makes sense that Toby would want to take up a career in puppetry himself. Toby now makes puppets for stop-motion animation company Laika and has also worked on ParaNorman and Boxtrolls.
9. An unheard version of Bowie singing ‘Chilly Down’ was released shortly after his death.
Most of us know Bowie wrote all five songs in the Labyrinth, but Chilly Down was never sung by him in the film. After his passing, a delightful recording of his vocals was posted on YouTube.
10. Bowie didn’t juggle his own balls.
That impressive crystal juggling was actually performed by Michael Moschen, a professional juggler who had been perfecting his craft since he left high school in 1973. He now creates work for Cirque du Soleil.
11. Tim Burton once considered remaking Labyrinth.
The future of Labyrinth is now in the hands of screenwriter Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy), but several years ago Tim Burton brought up the idea of remaking it. No doubt he’d have cast Johnny Depp as the Goblin King. We’re not sure if that would have been a good idea or not!
12. Over 9,000 pieces of Labyrinth fan fiction has been submitted online.
If you’re still craving more Labyrinth adventures, you can always check out what others have written about it. Thousands of fans have submitted stories that tell of sequels, prequels, spin-offs and crossovers! You can find a lot of it on FanFiction.net.
13. A Labyrinth-inspired Masquerade Ball is held in Lose Angeles every year.
The Labyrinth of Jareth Fantasy Masquerade Ball is the perfect get-together for fans of the ‘ballroom scene’ or those who just enjoy the goblin lore. Attendees are required to wear extravagant costumes and masks, and will be treated to a multitude of magical performances before dancing the night away in a classical ball.