(Production notes scanned in by Cruiser One on Aug 24, 1998.)
LABYRINTH represents the combined efforts
of two of today'smost talented and creative filmmakers -- director Jim
Henson andexecutive producer George Lucas. Using the most advanced technology
in the art of cinematic illusion, they have brought to life a magical world
of fantasy and adventure. Rock superstar/actor David Bowie stars in LABYRINTH
and performs five original songs which he wrote for the film. His co-star
is beautiful teenage actress Jennifer Connelly, already a well-known face
in the U.S. and Japan, and well on her way to international stardom.
Special effects wizardry is employed to create fantastic characters in highly imaginative settings. The result is a
blend of fantasy, adventure, suspense, comedy and music, designed to appeal to audiences of all ages.
On the surface LABYRINTH is about the adventures
and dangers a young girl, Sarah (Jennifer Connelly),
undergoes to rescue her infant brother, who has been kidnapped by the goblins and their powerful and compelling
ruler, Jareth (David Bowie). On a deeper level, the film captures the time, the dreams and the feelings of a
young girl on the edge of womanhood and awareness. The labyrinth is in itself a parable, a riddle, a journey,
and a place as bewildering as life. Sarah's adventure begins when she enters the labyrinth's forbidding, seemingly
endless passages and discovers almost immediately that she is at the beginning of a place and journey where things
are not always what they seem. Beings she meets will both befriend and betray her, rules are not always fair,
and danger,challenges, obstacles, and comic events can appear unexpectedly almost everywhere. Her companions
on her mission are Hoggle, an irritable, gnome-like little man who, in return for her plastic bracelet, agrees to
take her "as far as he can" through the maze. She is also joined by a huge, furry, gentle monster, Ludo, whom
she rescues from a group of tormenting goblins. Together, they become allies with the gallant Sir Didymus, a
fox-terrier-like creature who ferociously guards the bridge across "The Bog of Eternal Stench." Before their
journey ends, they have shared a series of adventures and comic encounters that test their courage and
their judgment -- and teach Sarah the lessons of the labyrinth.
No matter how much is said about the story
of LABYRINTH, words alone cannot capture the visual impact and entertainment
of a film designed to break new ground in the art of what is possible and
believable. "Is it all a dream," asks JIM HENSON, "like Alice's Adventures
in Wonderland, or Dorothy's in The Wizard of Oz? In my own mind it is.
But it's all rather ambiguous -- dream or reality? Fantasy or fact? It's
whatever you like to make it. Wherever it takes you to." On a deeper
level, Henson continues, LABYRINTH "is about aperson at the point of changing
from being a
child to a woman. Times of transition are always magic. Twilight is a magic time. Dawn is magic . . . the times
during which it's not day and not night but something in between. The time between sleeping and dreaming.
There are a lot of mystical qualities related to that. And to me, this is what the film is about. "The world that
Sarah enters exists in her imagination. The film starts out in her bedroom and you see all the books she's
read growing up . . . The Wizard of Oz . . . Alice in Wonderland . . .the works of Maurice Sendak. And
the world she enters shows elements of all these stories that fascinated her as a girl."
For more than two years, the concept of LABYRINTH developed in Henson's mind. He wanted to create a production that combined elements of fairy tales and classical stories that touch upon people's dreams and fears and incorporate them into a script that would relate and appeal to people today. He had already used technological advances to achieve a broader and more believable range of puppetry in his Muppet films and in his first fantasy production,"The Dark Crystal." But the idea of developing even more sophisticated creatures and combining them with the illusions possible on film, challenged Henson to create a world and creaturesso believable that an audience's imagination could be totally engaged. "Puppetry is an ancient tradition that draws heavily on mythand legend," Henson explains. "I feel I'm part of that tradition inusing several of these elements and old techniques, but I enjoyconverting them to the worlds of film and television. In LABYRINTH,we were trying to achieve things that have never been done before and that was the challenge and fun of this film. I like the range ofLABYRINTH --I like the fact that it combines magic, music, humor andcomedy." To enhance the magical qualities of the story, Henson created a totally new cast of fantastic creatures. They are not like hiscreations for "The Dark Crystal," or even those of any previousfantasy film. These creations, based on the drawings of artist andconceptual Designer Brian Froud, range from the human-like Hoggle, to the bizarre red-feathered "Fireys," who like to sing, dance, and toss around their heads and limbs. "The creatures in LABYRINTH are the most sophisticated characters we've ever built," Henson explains. "It's very complicated to try to explain our technology, but we used a lot of remote-control radio techniques and teams of puppeteers, who each operated various parts of the characters. I think, frankly, that some effects we've achieved look so real that people won't even realize that we've done anything special."
Selecting the actress who could play the role of Sarah was oneof Henson's first major decisions. He auditioned hundreds of applicants before selecting JENNIFER CONNELLY. "I wanted a girl who looked and could act that kind of dawn-twilight time between childhood and womanhood," Henson says. "And Jennifer was perfect. It was even more incredible that she was the same age as Sarah was intended in the script." Henson also believes DAVID BOWIE's starring performance asJareth (as well as the original music and songs he has written) adds to the film's impact. "David's performance is powerful," Henson says."His role is similar to being the leader of a gang. Everyone in the kingdom does what he says until Sarah comes along -- and she defies him. The goblins David controls are like members of his gang. He treats them terribly but they do anything he says. The goblins have an edge but, basically, they provide comic relief." As for the original songs Bowie wrote and performs in the film, Henson says, "I loved what he did. As we worked on developing the story of LABYRINTH, there were several places where music seemed logical. We would talk to David about them. The music and songs he wrote surprised me. He was always doing interesting things musically."
Teaming up with another leading fantasy filmmaker, ExecutiveProducer GEORGE LUCAS, also strengthened the film, Henson believes. "George has several very strong talents. His sense of story is terrific. He's also a wonderful editor and has a very good sense of what an audience likes and when they are ready to move on to the next thought, as the film progresses. It was very wonderful working with him."
Henson also enjoyed working with TERRY JONES, the screenwriter: "Terry would sit down with a whole batch of BrianFroud's drawings and come across a character he particularly liked,"Henson said. "Then he would start imagining how that character wouldact . . . what he would say. For example, Brian sketched a few doorknockers. They were faces -- one of which had a large ring in his mouth. Terry wrote him into the script as a character who tries to talk but can only mumble because he has this ring in his mouth. It was a delightful addition to the script. And basically, that's whatTerry did for a number of scenes in this film. It was an interesting way of collaborating. To take Brian's sketches and give them life."
Once on paper the challenge of making the characters come believably alive began in Henson's Creature Workshop in London, whereBRIAN FROUD supervised the sculpting and fabrication of the characters. Every effort was made to ensure the creatures appeared as"life-like" as possible. Even their tinted and textured skin was produced with miniscule wrinkles, hair and fingerprints. Special Animatronics experts designed and built the remote-control units,circuitry, and mechanisms that controlled the creatures expressions.A dance choreographer and acting coach, Cheryl McFadden, was also called in to work with the puppeteers in achieving life-like movements and character portrayals. "I wanted audiences to accept the characters as believable,living creatures," Henson explains. Creating the magical kingdom of LABYRINTH called for no less than designing and building an entire new world. Stone walls talk in the labyrinth. Door knockers complain. A seemingly bottomless pit is made of hundreds of hands that form themselves into talking faces and mouths. Mazes change their contours. A glittering ballroom shatters into shards and floats into an endless universe. Forests are enchanted. Bogs gurgle, rocks and boulders perform on cue. The sets of LABYRINTH are, in themselves, works of magic.
"It was Brian Froud who originally thought of making a labyrinth the basis of the story," Henson said. "After all, life is a kind of labyrinth, with all its twists and turns, its straight paths and its occasional dead ends. But our film is about a young girl who's going through a fantasy within her own mind. So our world also had to have a dreamlike quality." From the beginning, Froud and Henson dreamed of a wondrous place. Making it a reality took the combined talents of many craftsman. Chief among them was Production Designer ELLIOT SCOTT and Special Effects Supervisor GEORGE GIBBS, assisted by their teams ofart directors, craftsmen, and engineers. One of the most mammoth sets in LABYRINTH involved designing and building Goblin City. Constructed on Stage 6 at Thorn EMI ElstreeStudios in London -- the largest shooting stage in Europe --it required the biggest panoramic back-cloth ever made. The city itself was a network of narrow cobbled streets and small squares, lined with tiny gabled cottages and houses that tottered and lurched as though designed by a slightly drunken goblin architect. Chickens, pigs,cats, and other animals wander in its twisting streets. "The whole effect," says designer Scott, "is that of a fairyland village,conquered some time ago by invading goblins and left to go to seed." This is the scene for the film's climactic battle, in whichSarah, Ludo, Hoggle and Sir Didymus take on the nasty but comically disorganized Goblin army in a fracas that resembles nothing less than a Keystone Cop calamity of collisions, confusions, and mishaps.
One of Scott's most enchanting achievements was the ballroom in which costumed revelers, wearing elegant masks that resemble goblin faces, frighten and bewitch Sarah. To stage the romantic and haunting scene, Scott used 35 slowly-revolving chandeliers decorated with more than 400 tall white candles and strands of more than 5,000 glass "tear-drops." The white walls of the ballroom were made to sparkle with 77 pounds of pearl glitter. Panels of mirrors added to the dizzying effect and clouds of gauzy white drapes supplied a soft but enclosing mood.
As much as he enjoyed designing and overseeing the construction of his sets, Scott recalls that what probably challenged him the most was the forest Sarah and her friends travel through. It took months to obtain the 40,000 sprays of artificial leaves made especially for the film and which had to be individually fastened to each tree. The entire forest required 120 truckloads of tree branches, 1,200 turfs of grass, 850 pounds of dried leaves, 133 bags of lichen, and 35 bundles of mossy "old man's beard."
Although not as vast as Goblin City, the
enchanted forest or even the ballroom, the set that provides one of
LABYRINTH's mos tmemorable moments is a shaft of "helping hands." Created by Gibbs and his special effects
team, the set is half human! In the film, Sarah falls down a dark shaft.-- whose walls consist of hundreds of
hands, all reaching out for her. The hands --350 to be exact -- finally catch and hold Sarah and then, to her amazement, form themselves into faces and mouths and talk to her. One hundred and fifty of the hands were
supplied by 75 performers standing on five raised platforms and pushing their gloved hands through holes in the
shaft walls. The other 200 "supporting role" hands were made of foam rubber. Gibbs and his team designed
and built the 30-foot shaft, as well as a 40-foot vertical camera track which followed Sarah's descent down the
shaft with perfect timing and precision.
Another memorable Gibbs achievement was to bring rocks alive.In the battle in Goblin City, Ludo bellows for help. In response, 100 boulders of various sizes come tumbling through the city gates and streets, knocking down the suddenly-panicked goblins. Making the rocks perform accurately involved designing and building remote-control units that were installed inside about 20 of the 100 polyurethane rocks built for the scene. The radio-controlled rocks could be moved backwards and forwards at varying speeds.
Perhaps Gibbs' most breath-taking achievement in LABYRINTH wasmaking "The Bog of Eternal Stench" look as awful as Scott had designed it to appear. "The Bog had to look really uninviting," said Gibbs. "We made it from 30,000 gallons of water, mixed with a ton of celacol, which is a non-toxic powder and thickening agent that's often used as the basis of wallpaper paste. We also threw in some brown and blue dyes,plus industrial liquid paraffin and lots of tiny glass beads. The result was a nice gluggy, flexible sludge. And then we fixed things so that lots of little bubbly effects gurgled odiously. It all looked disgusting!"
THE CHARACTERS OF LABYRINTH
It's easy to consider Hoggle human. The odd, gnome-like little man is cantankerous, selfish, sly, deceitful, childish, and cowardly.On the other hand, he also shows himself to be clever, brave, loyal,decent, and the possessor of a heart of gold. Underneath his rather ugly exterior, Hoggle is very complicated. His body is performed by a petite woman, Shari Weiser.His head is quite another matter. Inside his "mask" -- as theproduction team calls it -- is a maze of electronic circuitry and devices that control various parts of his face, including the lips,eyelids, and jaw. Although costuming and performing Hoggle's body was easy enough, Shari says, his head presented some problems. You see," she explains, "the circuitry is very noisy. It was like having an air conditioner next to my ear, although I did get used to it after awhile. Anyway, I could see out from the mask through Hoggle's mouth.I had to have my face blackened, in case my white face showed though."
Although Shari performed Hoggle's body
movements, as well as the general movements of his
head, the character's facial moves and expressions were the responsibility of four off-camera puppeteers operating
broadcast devices that controlled 20 separate electronic remote-control functions. Brian Henson, puppeteer coordinator and head of the team performing Hoggle, explained that the biggest challenge was for everyone to work
together in perfect unison to achieve the most natural performance. "Everyone involved with Hoggle had to have the same personality response in mind," he said. "I've always found that if a performance didn't work for any one puppeteer on the team, then it didn't work for any of them as a whole. There's a lot of chemistry involved." Brian also provided Hoggle's voice, which he described as "a fairly crotchety old dwarf's voice." Understanding how Hoggle's features were controlled provides an explanation of how the remote-control systems operated --with modifications -- for all of the creatures in LABYRINTH. On his right hand, Brian wore a special mitt which, when it was squeezed, worked Hoggle's jaw. A lever was used to make Hoggle's mouth smile or grimace. Another mitt on the hand of another member of the team controlled various other lip positions. A third member of the team controlled Hoggle's eyes and eyelids and a fourth puppeteer worked Hoggle's eyebrows. He also had a foot pedal that controlled the skin area around the top of the nose and around the eyes. This was used to give expression around Hoggle's eyes and to make him sneer. However, as Brian stressed, the purpose of all the sophisticated technology was to make possible the most realistic performances.
Ludo is the kind of character who in old Hollywood movies was referred to as "you big lovable lug." Ludo is big! He stands over eight feet tall when erect and,even then, the knuckles of his paws drag on the ground. He is also covered in reddish fur and has a large pair of horns that curve into his face, two fangs that protrude up and a squashed-in
nose. Despite these awesome features, Ludo is lovable. He has gentle brown eyes and a wrinkled, expressive face
that can convey a range of emotion, from goofy to sweet. From the moment Sarah rescues Ludo from the
torments of a gang of goblins, she knows she has nothing to fear from the gentle giant.And indeed, on their
shared journey through the labyrinth, he rescues her more than once.
Performing Ludo was a challenge shared
by puppeteers Ron Mueckand Rob Mills. Ron developed Ludo's character and
served as the major performer and Rob alternated. Ludo, basically, was
a very large and magnificent costume witha lot of very sophisticated equipment
and either Ron or Rob inside. Once there, the puppeteers view of the outside
world was mostly obtained from the screens of two tiny TV monitors strapped
to their stomachs. One of the monitors showed the action on the set that
was being seen and filmed by the movie camera. The second monitor carried
a picture transmitted through the lens of a tiny camera hidden in Ludo's
horn. It was this picture that mainly kept Ludo
from walking into things. Three puppeteers operated remote radio control devices that controlled Ludo's facial
expressions and movements.
Sir Didymus -- the third of Sarah's companions through themaze -- is the bravest of all of LABYRINTH's creatures. Although a diminutive two-and-a-half-feet tall, he has the towering spirit of a Knight of the Round Table and his feisty courage knows no bounds.Surrounded by an army of menacing goblins he promises them fair treatment if they lay down their arms. Sir Didymus is a gallant picture. He has the face of a fox-terrier and the impressive tail plume of a squirrel. His fur isreddish and he sports a white moustache and eyebrows, as well as very sharp teeth that he bares whenever challenging the enemy. He also wears a rakish black patch over his left eye, a blue velvet hat with a sweeping yellow feather and a scarlet doublet.
Sir Didymus has a faithful steed, Ambrosius. His noble mount is a large white-and-grey English sheepdog which he attempts to ride into battle but who is, alas, as cowardly as Sir Didymus is brave. Nevertheless, Ambrosius looks the part. A leather saddle with silver stirrups is strapped to his back, along with a colorful blanket decorated with Sir Didymus's knightly heraldic devices: three bones rampant, seven black paw-marks, a chequered square, a fire-hydrant, and some trees. In full glory, it may be difficult for audiences to realize Sir Didymus is basically a hand-puppet. Dave Goelz, a talented puppeteer who has worked with Jim Henson for many years, operates SirDidymus -- mainly from below by putting his arms up through the puppet-figure of Ambrosius and into Sir Didymus's. Off camera performers operate the remote radio units that control Sir Didymus' features.
Humongous makes a frightening entrance! When Sarah, Hoggle, Ludo and Sir Didymus finally arrive at the gates of Goblin City, a huge pair of metallic gates-- each bearing the bas-relief half-figure of an armored warrior -- clangs shut. The now-joined half-figures merge into one mammoth, towering suit-of-armor with flashing red eyes and a huge axe that repeatedly raises as it attempts to smash the intruders to bits. As Goblin City's answer to King Kong, Humongous stands 15-feettall, is 10-feet wide, and weighs approximately two-and-a-halftons -- even though its armor is made from flexible polyurethane. AsHumongous emerges from the door in a cloud of smoke, he is a menacing figure. Even to people who know better. "It's certainly the biggest thing we have ever built," said Jim Henson. "When we saw it on the set it was very scary. We were just standing there and it started walking towards us and . . . it was frightening." The figure of Humongous was sketched by Conceptual DesignerBrian Froud. Its technical design and construction was a team effort headed up by George Gibbs. Controlling Humongous involved both an electronic circuitry system and servo-hydraulics mechanisms. The major feature was a "false arm" concealed behind the character. The interior of this arm featured various voltage-control devices and levers. When an operator inserted his arm inside this tube, and moved it back and forth and upand down while manipulating the controls, he could make the arm of Humongous duplicate his actions.
The Fireys appear in a spectacular musical sequence in which they sing and dance to a song specially written for the film by its star, David Bowie. The number consists of dancing, jumping up and down, and removing, tossing and kicking around their heads and assorted limbs. All the time they sing a lively song whose lyrics include the explanation "We just want a good time!" The dance of the Fireys is one of director Jim Henson's favorite moments from the film and was, certainly, one of the most challenging. It took four weeks of rehearsals and another four weeks to film. Each of the Fireys was manipulated by a team of four puppeteers wearing black outfits that covered them from head-to-toe and thusmade them "invisible" when the number was filmed against ablack velvet background. Their antics were then
"matted" over film footage of the forest where Sarah encounters them. "It was all so intricate that it could take a
whole day to get 30 seconds of screen time," explains Charles Augins, the choreographer who worked out the
scene. "One difficulty was that you couldn't have the Fireys cross one another, or turn around, because the puppeteers' bodies would block each other out."
CAST AND CREW BIOGRAPHIES
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 film. 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 ourfirst choice from the very beginning. And he liked the idea. So the whole thing was really written with him in mind." 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, andhis 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 ElephantMan" 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. AndJennifer 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 CatskillMountains 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 school. At ten she began doing modelling 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"
in1983, 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 persona lfavorite," 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 theArt 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 startwhen he entered -- and won -- an audition for young puppeteers sponsored by a local TV station. During his freshman year at theUniversity of Maryland, he was offered a five-minute late-evening spot at WRC-TV in Washington, D.C., which he filled with a show hecalled "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. In1968 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 witha contemporary dramatic theme. With the advent of "Sesame Street" in 1969, Henson's "Muppets"became a household word. Children's Television Workshop asked him toproduce the puppet segments of the show -- a partnership that continues to this day.
In 1976, one of England's major entertainment
figures, Lord Lew Grade, offered Henson the opportunity to produce "The
MuppetShow" at his London studios. Within three years, the program reached
an estimated audience of 235
million viewers in more than 100countries. 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 MuppetMovie." It was followed by "The Great Muppet Caper" in 1981 and "The Muppets Take Manhattan" in 1984. 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 UniversalPictures' 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 HBOprogram, "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 time slot.
George Lucas was born in May, 1945, in Modesto, California,where he attended Modesto Junior College before enrolling at theUniversity 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 filmingof "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 FilmCritics 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: "TheEmpire 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 ofDoom," both directed by Steven Spielberg. 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-TVmovies "The Ewok Adventure," and "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor," oneyear later. This summer, Lucas will also executive produce "Howard theDuck," 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 Wallis, George Cukor, Karel Reisz, Billy Wilder, MelFrank, Stanley Donen, Sam Spiegel andFred Zinnemann. He now produces LABYRINTH. Eric Rattray lives with his wife, Peggy and daughter, Fiona, in Chesham,
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 FlyingCircus," 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 series. His books have included Bert Fegg's Nasty Book for Boys and Girls (with MichaelPalin) (re-titled Dr Fegg's Nasty Book of Knowledge in the U.S.), Chaucer's Knight, Fairy Tales, The Saga ofErik 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 of Britain." Gibbs' first post as Special Effects Supervisor was on the1968 production of "Captain Nemo and The Underwater City." Since then, his credits have included such films as "Superman I", "FlashGordon", "Ragtime," "Conan The Barbarian", "The Curse of the PinkPanther," "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 Bogof 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 filmstudio, 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 "BlackNarcissus." 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 anOscar 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 picture, LABYRINTH. 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 aLamb'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.
Inthe Devonshire village of Chagford, he worked with illustrator andfriend
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 Cloak.
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 StrikesBack." Their baby son, Toby, makes his screen debut in LABYRINTH asToby, 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 the cinema. In 1967 Trevor went to London to study on scholarship at theRoyal 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 "RunawayTrain," nominated for three Academy Awards in 1985. He also wrote the music for the 1981 Academy Award winning short film, "The DollarBottom" and in 1982, the score for another Jim Henson film, "The DarkCrystal." 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 performersandhighly-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."