David Bowie stars in LABYRINTH as the powerful and compelling ruler of
a magical world. He performs the five original songs he wrote for the
From the very beginning, director Jim Henson envisioned Bowie as the lead
of this major new fantasy film production. "Way back when we first started
working on the story, we came up with this idea of a Goblin King," Henson
explains. "And then we thought; 'Wouldn't it be wonderful to have music
and someone who can sing?' David was our first choice from the very beginning.
And he liked the idea. So the whole thing was really written with him
Bowie stars as Jareth, the handsome and charismatic ruler who kidnaps
Sarah's baby brother, challenges her to solve the labyrinth, and then
tries to entice her into remaining with him in his magical kingdom.
What attracted Bowie to the role? "Jim gave me the script, which I found
very amusing," he says. "It's by Terry Jones, of Monty Python, and it
has that kind of slightly inane insanity running through it. When I read
the script and saw that Jim wanted to put music to it, it just felt as
though it could be a really nice, funny thing to do."
Bowie's songs for LABYRINTH range from a hauntingly beautiful love song,
'As The World Falls Down," to a lively dance number, "Magic Dance," which
he performs on camera with his rowdy goblin subjects. He also sings the
powerful and moving LABYRINTH theme song, "Underground," and is seen performing
a song in one of the film's final and climactic scenes, "Within You."
A fifth song "Chilly Down," sets the mood for a wildly exuberant dance
number by some of the film's fantastic creatures, the Fireys.
As one of pop music's biggest and most influential stars, Bowie has been
responsible for setting trends and standards that have influenced musical
stars and audiences around the world.
Since his first major hit single, "Space Oddity," in 1969, and his album
"The Man Who Sold The World," the following year, Bowie's many successful
albums have included "Hunky Dory," "The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust"
and the "Spiders from Mars" (which also launched the hit single "Starman")
"Aladdin Sane," "Station to Station," "Heroes," "Let's Dance" and "Tonight."
Bowie made his motion picture debut in 1975 as the star of Nicholas Roeg's
"The Man Who Fell To Earth" and his films since then have included "Just
A Gigolo," "The Hunger," "Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence," "Into The Night"
(a brief guest role), and "Absolute Beginners." In 1980, he starred in
the title role of "The Elephant Man" on the Broadway stage and, during
1983, undertook his successful "Serious Moonlight Tour," covering Europe,
the United States, Japan, and Australia.
Jennifer Connelly was chosen by director Jim Henson from hundreds of young
actresses he interviewed and auditioned on both sides of the Atlantic.
"I knew she was right for the role of Sarah as soon as she walked into
my office in New York," said Henson. "I wanted a girl who looked and could
act that role and that age. And Jennifer was perfect."
Co-star David Bowie was just as enthusiastic: "Jennifer was absolutely
right for the part of Sarah. She's extremely pretty, with looks rather
like those of the teenage Elizabeth Taylor. She's also a damn good actress
and was a joy to work with."
Jennifer was born on December 12, 1970, in the Catskill Mountains in New
York State. When she was a baby, the family lived in New York City where,
with the exception of two years, she attended (and still does) the same
At ten she began doing modeling work through the Ford Agency, in New York,
followed by TV commercials. These led to movie auditions and she made
her acting debut in "Once Upon A Time In America" in 1983, at the age
of eleven. Next came an Italian film, "Phenomena" (1984), followed by
"Seven Minutes Into Heaven" (also 1986). Then came LABYRINTH. "Jim Henson
was wonderful to work with," she says. "He is a very gentle and considerate
person as well as a wonderful director. And David Bowie was just great
and it was wonderful watching him shoot, varying his performance from
take to take."
The ballroom sequence in the film was her "own personal favorite," she
recalls. "I wore a beautiful silver ballgown, which was a refreshing change
from the blue jeans I wore in almost every other scene. It was really
a gorgeous set, with masses of huge chandeliers and thousands of flickering
candles, hundreds of silken cushions and curtains, and masses of people
in strange masks and ornate dresses. There was the thrill of dancing with
David Bowie to one of the songs he composed especially for the film. There
wasn't enough room, for technical reasons, to really dance around properly,
but we just drifted slowly and gracefully (I hope!) to David's music,
and he looked fabulous! It's all a sort of magical fantasy sequence inside
a huge bubble."
During the filming of LABYRINTH, Jennifer attended school lessons at the
studio, as required by law. After twenty-one weeks of film work, she returned
to New York City -- and school. "It's like the end of a chapter of my
life," she sighed.
Jennifer still lives in New York City with her parents and a big sheepdog
called Petunia. In her spare time, she enjoys music, writing, reading
poetry, cycling, going out with her friends, and exploring the city.
Jim Henson's creative worlds are never-ending -- and never quite the same.
From the construction of his first green hand-puppet, to the incredible
creatures of his fantasy films, he has expanded the Art of Puppetry and
re-defined what is believable.
Henson's fascination with the visual medium began as a child, when his
family acquired its first TV set. His career had its start when he entered
-- and won -- an audition for young puppeteers sponsored by a local TV
station. During his freshman year at the University of Maryland, he was
offered a five-minute late-evening spot at WRC-TV in Washington, D.C.,
which he filled with a show he called "Sam and Friends." The whimsical,
humorous program won a local Emmy in 1959 for Outstanding Television Entertainment
and led to appearances on a variety of network TV shows, including "The
Ed Sullivan Show," "The Steve Allen Show," and "The Jimmy Dean Show."
"Sam and Friends" allowed Henson to perfect his unique puppetry style,
and to design characters whose expressive features took advantage of the
visual intimacy of the TV screen. His creative fascination with the special
effects film and television technology made possible was also reflected
in his other productions.
In 1964, he made "Timepiece," a 10-minute short film using live action
and animation that won an Academy Award nomination. In 1968 and 1969,
he created two non-puppet programs for NBC's "Experiment in Television."
The first was "Youth '68," cited by Variety as one of the ten best TV
shows of that year. The other program was "The Cube," which featured live
performers and dealt with a contemporary dramatic theme.
With the advent of "Sesame Street" in 1969, Henson's "Muppets" became
a household word. Children's Television Workshop asked him to produce
the puppet segments of the show -- a partnership that continues to this
In 1976, one of England's major entertainment figures, Lord Lew Grade,
offered Henson the opportunity to produce "The Muppet Show" at his London
studios. Within three years, the program reached an estimated audience
of 235 million viewers in more than 100 countries. During its five years
in production, "The Muppet Show" won three Emmy Awards, a Peabody, a Writers
Guild of America Award, and numerous other international honors.
Building on the show's popularity, Henson produced his first full-length
feature film, the successful 1979 release "The Muppet Movie." It was followed
by "The Great Muppet Caper" in 1981 and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" in
In 1982, Henson released a totally new style of feature fantasy film,
"The Dark Crystal." It was the first all-creature, live-action fantasy
film ever made and became one of Universal Pictures' most successful releases
of the year. Henson's new 1986 fantasy film, LABYRINTH, marks a new level
of achievement in the creation of an entirely new cast of incredible creatures.
Henson maintains his involvement in television with the HBO program, "Fraggle
Rock", now ending its fourth season. The program is seen in more than
80 countries in 10 different languages. His CBS-TV Saturday morning animated
show, "Muppet Babies," has just ended its second season as one of the
highest-rated programs in its timeslot.
George Lucas was born in May, 1945, in Modesto, California, where he attended
Modesto Junior College before enrolling at the University of Southern
California film school. At USC he made several short films, including
the science-fiction short "THX 1138," which took first prize in the 1967-68
National Student Film Festival.
Later that year, he won a scholarship to observe the filming of "Finian's
Rainbow," directed by Francis Coppola, and went on to work as Coppola's
assistant on "The Rain People."
In 1969, Lucas moved to Marin County, and, with Coppola, helped to establish
American Zoetrope, an independent film production company. Zoetrope's
first project was Lucas's first feature, "THX 1138," an expanded version
of his prize-winning student film.
Lucas subsequently emerged as a leading director with "American Graffiti"
(1973), which he also co-scripted. A nostalgic recreation of American
adolescence in the early 1960s, it became a big success with public and
critics alike and won the Golden Globe, the New York Film Critics Award,
and the National Society of Film Critics Award.
In 1976 he wrote and directed the phenomenally successful "Star Wars,"
which became the biggest money-making film of all time and won seven Academy
Awards. Lucas later created the stories for and also served as executive
producer of the "Star Wars" sequels: "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return
of the Jedi."
In 1978 he joined with Francis Coppola to executive produce "Kagemusha,"
a film by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa.
Lucas was also the executive producer of the highly successful "Raiders
of the Lost Ark," and "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," both directed
by Steven Spiel berg. On both "Indiana Jones" features, he created the
story as well.
In 1985, Lucas again joined forces with Francis Coppola to executive produce
"Mishima," a film directed by Paul Schrader, based on the life and novels
of Yukio Mishima.
Most recently, Lucas has brought some of his most popular "Star Wars"
characters to television with the animated series "Ewoks and Droids: The
Adventures of R2-D2 and C-3PO," and the made-for-TV movies "The Ewok Adventure,"
and "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor," one year later.
This summer, Lucas will also executive produce "Howard the Duck," a live-action
comedy from Universal Pictures. "Howard" represents Lucas' third collaboration
with writer/director Willard Huyck and writer/producer Gloria Katz, who
previously co-scripted "American Graffiti" and "Indiana Jones and the
Temple of Doom."
Eric Rattray was born and educated in London, growing up during the Second
World War. He entered the film industry, after National Service, in 1952.
He became first assistant director in 1959 on "It Happened in Naples,"
starring Clark Gable and Sophia Loren and directed by Mel Shavelson. Since
then he has worked exclusively on feature films, earning the respect of
such doyens of the industry as Carl Foreman, Stanley Kubrick, Sir Richard
Attenborough, Betty Box, Joe Levine, Hal Wall is, George Cukor, Karel
Reisz, Billy Wilder, Mel Frank, Stanley Donen, Sam Spiegel and Fred Zinnemann.
He now produces LABYRINTH. Eric Rattray lives with his wife, Peggy and
daughter, Fiona, in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.
David Lazer's association with Jim Henson and the Muppets dates back to
1964, when he and Henson did experimental film work that resulted in pioneering
new concepts. He is currently executive vice president at Henson Associates.
Over the years, Lazer has produced many TV specials and film projects.
He was the executive producer of the enormously successful "Muppet Show"
and co-produced the feature films "The Muppet Movie" and "The Great Muppet
Caper." He was also executive producer of "The Dark Crystal" and producer
of "The Muppets Take Manhattan."
Terry Jones was born in 1942 in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, and educated
at a variety of English schools before attending Oxford University. After
two acting appearances in London, he joined the BBC Light Entertainment
Script Department in 1965 and wrote for a variety of comedy programs and
English comedy performers. He also wrote and appeared in the popular BBC
TV comedy series "Do Not Adjust Your Set" and "The Complete and Utter
History of Britain."
In 1969 came the landmark comedy series "Monty Python's Flying Circus,"
which he co-wrote and co-starred in with John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric
Idle, Graham Chapman and Terry Gilliam. It ran, amidst much controversy
and huge popular success, until 1974, plus several repeat runs. In 1971
came the Python team's first motion picture, "And Now For Something Completely
Different," followed by "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," which he co-directed,
and "Monty Python's Life of Brian," and "Monty Python's Meaning of Life,"
which he directed. In 1973 he wrote (with Michael Palin), the BBC TV Play
"Secrets" and in 1977-78 (again with Palin) the "Ripping Yarns" BBC-TV
His books have included Bert Fegg's Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (with
Michael Palin) (re-titled Dr Fegg's Nasty Book of Knowledge in the U.S.),
Chaucer's Knight, Fairy Tales, The Saga of Erik the Viking and (with Palin)
Dr. Fegg's Encyclopedia (sic) of All Knowledge.
George Gibbs, Special Effects Supervisor for LABYRINTH, is considered
one of the world's greatest SFX experts. His work on "Indiana Jones and
The Temple of Doom" won the 1985 Academy Award, as well as its British
equivalent from the B.A.F.T.A.
Gibbs started his career as an apprentice electrician before getting into
the special effects field at Pinewood Studios. He worked with two SFX
pioneers, the late Les Bowie and Oscar-winning Derek Meddings. He later
joined the SFX team on the studio's massive production of "The Battle
Gibbs' first post as Special Effects Supervisor was on the 1968 production
of "Captain Nemo and The Underwater City." Since then, his credits have
included such films as "Superman I", "Flash Gordon", "Ragtime," "Conan
The Barbarian", "The Curse of the Pink Panther," "Monty Python's The Meaning
of Life", and "Brazil."
Over the years, Elliot Scott has worked on more than 100 film productions.
His career dates from work "in a humble capacity" on Alfred Hitchcock's
film "The Thirty-Nine Steps," to designing sets for "Indiana Jones and
The Temple of Doom." For LABYRINTH, Scott designed a mammoth Goblin City,
as well as a mystical forest, a Bog of Eternal Stench, a glittering Venetian
ballroom, a topsy-turvey chamber of stairs and a thoroughly disreputable
Throne Room for Goblin King David Bowie. He also designed the passageways,
sets, and mazes that are the labyrinth itself.
Scott began his career in the art department of a London film studio,
where he worked as a general errand boy and researcher. After World War
II, he became an assistant to the German-born art director Alfred Junge,
who won an Oscar in 1946 for his work on "Black Narcissus." Scott eventually
succeeded Junge as supervising art director at MGM British Studios and
remained in that post until the studios closed in 1970.
Scott's credits as art director and production designer include "The Yellow
Rolls Royce," "The Haunting," "A Doll 's House," "Dragonslayer" and "The
Pirates of Penzance." He was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the
film "The Incredible Sarah."
British Illustrator Brian Froud brings his unique brilliance to the task
of Conceptual Designer for Jim Henson s major new fantasy adventure motion
LABYRINTH marks the second collaboration between Froud and Henson -- they
first worked together in 1977 on "The Dark Crystal."
In LABYRINTH, Froud's magical and richly populated drawings come to life
in scene after scene of fantastical creatures, goblins and fairies.
Influenced early in his career by Arthur Rackham's work, Froud has his
own distinctive and whimsical style. In LABYRINTH, a carved face utters
dire warnings to heroine Sarah only to apologize abjectly for "just doing
my job." A door-knocker complains bitterly about having a ring in its
mouth and a wise man wears a hat that is part talking-bird.
Froud produced his first book of illustrations in London for a Lamb's
version of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." This work was followed by
illustrations for "A Midsummer Night's Dream," which received rave reviews
and further boosted his interest in the fairy and goblin world.
Soon after completing this assignment, Froud returned to the English countryside
from which he derived much of his inspiration. In the Devonshire village
of Chagford, he worked with illustrator and friend Alan Lee on the book
Faeries. The book sold a quarter of a million copies in its first three
weeks after publication and won the prestigious Silver Medal of the American
Society of Illustrators. Froud then went on to produce his own anthology,
a work packed with strange lands and creatures and titled The Land of
Froud." In 1982, a book of Froud's sketches for "The Dark Crystal" was
published in conjunction with the film's opening. In recent years Froud's
book assignments have included several children's books -- including a
pop-up picture book, Goblins, and a Medieval moral tale, Master Snickup's
Froud lives in Devon with his wife, Wendy, an American puppet-maker and
doll-maker, who worked with Henson for several years and who helped design
the inimitable Yoda for "The Empire Strikes Back." Their baby son, Toby,
makes his screen debut in LABYRINTH as Toby, Sarah's baby brother who
is abducted by the Goblin King and whom Sarah sets out on her journey
through the Labyrinth to rescue.
Trevor Jones was raised in an entertainment family and his ambition to
score for films dates back to the age of five after his first visit to
In 1967 Trevor went to London to study on scholarship at the Royal Academy
of Music. There he studied piano, organ, orchestration and composition.
Among the many prizes he won while at school was the Review Week Prize
which led to his appointment as Reviewer of Classical Music for BBC Radio
and Television -- a position he held for four years.
Before LABYRINTH, Trevor wrote the score to the film "Runaway Train,"
nominated for three Academy Awards in 1985. He also wrote the music for
the 1981 Academy Award winning short film, "The Dollar Bottom" and in
1982, the score for another Jim Henson film, "The Dark Crystal."
In 1974 he went to York University, later graduating with a Masters Degree
in Film and Media Music. Jones also studied at the National Film School
and in the four years that he was there scored some 22 films.
Trevor is based in London with his Music Production Company and his recording
studio. When not writing music, he is researching for his PhD in "Music
and the Visual Arts."
For Brian Henson, being in the entertainment industry is more than a family
tradition, it's a career he chose for himself. "When I was 17, because
of my work on 'The Great Muppet Caper," Brian says, "I realized that I
wanted to be in film, whether or not my family was in it."
A major step for Brian was working with Faz Fazakas, director of the Muppet
Workshop's Electro-mechanical department, on the movie "The Muppets Take
Manhattan." Devising and building the circuitry and devices that enabled
Muppet characters to achieve more realistic performances proved an inspiring
direction for Brian. An opportunity to break into performing occurred
in the film "The Return to Oz" when he was asked to audition for the part
of Jack Pumpkin Head. Brian won the role and also the chance to work on
the technical end of the production.
He next worked on the film, "Santa Claus: The Movie." It was these two
projects that led to his being hired as a performer and Puppeteer Coordinator
for LABYRINTH. "It was my experience with organizing a team of puppeteers
to develop a character, and then learning how to work together in unison
to 'be' that one character," Brian explains. "We still call them puppets,'
even though they are in effect an efficient collaboration between a team
of performers and highly-advanced electronic creations."
At least four puppeteers are needed to perform the major creatures in
LABYRINTH. In the case of a principal character, Hoggle, one performer
is inside the costume and is responsible for all the body movements. Another
performer operates a remote unit that controls Hoggle's eyes and eyelids.
A third member of the off-camera team controls Hoggle's eyebrows. Brian
himself was responsible for the character's voice, facial expressions
and for synchronizing the mouth and lip movements, with a fifth person.
Working with his father was also a rewarding experience. "I think we really
came together on this film," Brian says. "We realized we both liked the
same things. There's a lot of mutual respect."
Brian's work on LABYRINTH also received praise and respect from his peers
on the set, as well as the admiration of his father.
"Brian really came into his own on this film," says Jim Henson. "He wasn't
working as my son, he was working as my equal on the set."