30 Years Later, The Baby From 'Labyrinth' Is Now A Real-Life Goblin King

You remind me of the babe.
Toby Froud/"Labyrinth"/Hensons

There’s a good reason Toby Froud reminds you of the babe.

Froud is actually baby Toby from David Bowie’s 1986 cult classic, “Labyrinth.” It’s been 30 years since the movie’s release, so The Huffington Post checked in with him to see what he’s up to now.

Unfortunately, despite his movie sister Sarah’s (Jennifer Connelly) best efforts to save him from the maze, it looks like baby Toby grew up to be the goblin king after all.

Here he is today:

Toby Froud

Following in the footsteps of his father, Brian, the conceptual designer and costume designer for “Labyrinth,” the younger Froud is now a puppeteer and fabricator of goblins, trolls and any other creature you can think of. In other words, he’s the Goblin King. Since entering a career in film, Froud has credits on “BoxTrolls,” “ParaNorman” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and even helmed his own short film, “Lessons Learned.”

But the question remains: As David Bowie says in the “Labyrinth” song, “Magic Dance” (also known as “Dance Magic”), does Froud still remind people of the babe?

“I think I’ve had that line shouted at me more times than I can remember. It’s very funny to sort of be in a world where everyone seems to know me even though I was a baby,” said Froud.

“Even to this day, there are still people that will name me. [I say,] ‘I am Toby,’ and they go, ‘Wait, you’re the Toby? You’re the Toby; aren’t you?’”

To celebrate three decades of “Labyrinth,” Froud chatted with HuffPost about everything from the time he peed on Jareth the Goblin King (Bowie) to whether or not Bowie’s, uh, “little Bowie,” was meant to be so on display.

(Spoiler alert: It was.)

What’s it like to be a Goblin King?

It’s interesting growing up with the idea of being the baby in the Labyrinth and becoming the Goblin King as it were, it’s sort of passing the mantle. But I grew up in this world of fantasy and this world of goblins, and I sort of formed my life around the art of creating creatures and puppets and characters with my parents. Certainly it’s led me to interning and working in film and television.

What was it like when you heard the sad news about David Bowie?

It was a weird feeling because I didn’t know him. My regret was I never got to meet the man after, and I was just as much a fan of his music as anyone else.

There’s a little connection lost to the Labyrinth and, as you said it earlier, the passing of it means potentially I become the Goblin King, which people have pointed out as well, which is also a very strange feeling toward that.

You released a video recreating “Magic Dance.”

It was during the filming of “Lessons Learned.” Someone broke out “Magic Dance” on their phone and everybody brought out their puppets and danced around and had me sit in the middle. It all came together in a very strange way.

It wasn’t until David Bowie’s passing that I felt I’ll just release it. I’ll put it out there as a sort of homage to everything that has gone on.

So we heard you an “accident” the first time you met David Bowie. What actually happened?

I had a diaper underneath [my red and white striped outfit], but the diapers were far too bulky, so they created thinner diapers. These days, you’ll be fine. There are all sorts of things. But at that time, there were thick diapers, so they had to create thin-line diapers for me to wear underneath the costume, which didn’t hold liquid. The first time I actually met David Bowie and sat on his lap, I peed all over him. He was a gentleman about it. He really was. At the time, he was an absolute rockstar and everything, but he was very genuinely nice about the whole situation, and we carried on afterward. We did the scenes together. But yes, I met the man and peed on him pretty quickly, maybe a couple times through the shoot. It was all to do with the diapers.

Toby FroudLabyrinthHensons

David Bowie’s pants are pretty revealing in “Labyrinth.” Was that intentional?

Yeah it was. I mean, my father designed his costume that way. In fact, he designed a codpiece to go on Jareth as well to accentuate even more. He is meant to be the sexual allure of everything. Fairies and goblins in that whole realm, in that whole world, are very closely knit, and if you look at the dark fairy in folklore, it’s that idea. They are meant to be tempting. He is meant to be a sexual icon, and the fact that he’s a rockstar, that’s why they chose someone like David Bowie to do it.

The mother and father in the real world are almost plain of the time in the ‘80s, and things like that, where he is exciting. And the costume was defined that way, and yes he wanted his package to be shown in that sense. It was all planned to be that way.

Have you heard anything about a possible “Labyrinth 2”?

Yeah, we heard about it like everyone else on Facebook. It’s very interesting. I think the timing was unfortunately wrong, announcing things like that, but if they were to do it, we wish them luck. We haven’t heard anything more about it unfortunately. There have always been ideas or wants even potentially from David Bowie at some point to do a musical or create “Labyrinth” in a different way, and “Labyrinth 2” has been talked about under whispered tones, I think.

David Bowie wanted a “Labyrinth 2” musical?

Not officially that I’m aware of. There’s always been rumors that he wanted to do a stage show of some sort and “Labyrinth” was always mentioned as one possibility. But I know he was a creative genius that did so many projects, so whether that was ever truly talked about in regard to Hensons or not, I’m not sure.

Is the main song called “Dance Magic” or “Magic Dance”?

It might even be said both ways technically in the film. It’s interchangeable.
“The One Song You Basically Remember From Labyrinth,” it should be called.

How was it getting “thrown” in the air?

For years I was asked that. “My God, how could they throw you in the air?” And I would look at people and smile and go, “It’s a puppet.” For years people would say that, and these days everyone is like, “Oh, it’s a bad puppet isn’t it?”

“Uh, yeah.”

I never really got thrown in the air. They didn’t drop me on several takes or anything like that.

So for “Magic Dance,” what kind of magic spell did David Bowie use, slime or snails or puppy dog tails?

[Laugh] It depends on if you’re a boy or a girl I’d say, which ever one. There are spells for all.

There’s a line in the song that says, “Slap that baby.” It doesn’t mean actually slapping a baby does it?

I hesitate to guess, but I think, as the goblins are seeing it, I would say it represents turning me into that goblin, letting out the goblin inside.

Oh, that would make sense.

I think so. People have said that line to me before, and I’ve said, “Ah, don’t hit me.” But I think it is more the idea to release the goblin inside of you and maybe it required a slap or two.

Was the Labyrinth all in Sarah’s head?

No, I don’t think it was. I think she lived it. I think it was real. She really did ask the goblins to take me away, and I haven’t quite forgiven her for that.

Yeah, we don’t blame you, baby Toby.

Hit Backspace for a regular dose of pop culture nostalgia.

Before You Go

'Game of Thrones' Season 6

Popular in the Community