Thursday, July 13, 2006

Muppet News

Brian Henson on new Dark Crystal and Fraggle Rock films

Henson reveals that "The Power of the Dark Crystal" is on schedule while work continues on the development of a Fraggle Rock theatrical film

Courtesy of Now Playing Magazine
May 3, 2006

Henson Company co-CEO Brian Henson got on the phone with Now Playing recently to promote the DVD release of the first two seasons of the animatronic sitcom Dinosaurs. And it didn’t take long for him to begin spilling secrets about his upcoming projects. First up is the “Battleground” episode of Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes for TNT.

A Henson doing Stephen King? What gives? “Well, I’ve always wanted to do something not for kids and I basically got to really exercise that on Farscape,” Henson says. “So Farscape was my big adult thing that I did and I did that for a lot of years. In continuing along that line, I did this ‘Battleground’ for Nightmares and Dreamscapes and I think I will do more drama/science fiction in the sort of X-Files vein as well as quite likely doing some more science fiction. I’m also enjoying some adult comedy. I think I would likely do some cool puppet pieces that are puppets but doing adult material.”

But don’t look for any evil puppets in “Battleground.” “There are characters [but] they’re not really puppets. They’re CG characters and costumes. It’s basically about a guy who gets hunted down in his apartment by a box of toy soldiers.”

In even bigger news for children of the 1980s, the Henson Company is doing a feature length Fraggle Rock movie. “I think we announced that we’re trying to develop a Fraggle Rock movie a little bit earlier than we’re doing it. Yes, we’re writing a Fraggle Rock movie and trying to pull it together.”

It’s been so long that they may have to reintroduce the origin story of the Fraggles, but devotees need not worry about a cheap remake. “I think it was more realizing the Fraggles in a slightly different environment. It was to do something that sort of stands next to Fraggle Rock rather than [is] a continuation of [it].”

You’ll see all your favorite Fraggles, and you won’t even be able to tell that the original puppets have been lost to mothballs. “Well, we have to rebuild them because they’re old, but it would be with a lot of those characters, definitely.”

On the front burner for Henson is a sequel to the cult classic The Dark Crystal. “We are trying to pull the business pieces together on a Dark Crystal sequel. That one’s pretty far along. It’s got a good, strong script, a great vision for how to do it and we’re just trying to [put it together].”

Much of the talent involved with the original Dark Crystal has left the Henson Company, so recreating that world will take more than just rebuilding the puppets. “For Dark Crystal, almost none of the voices were actually the puppeteers, so they were mostly voice artists. Where characters need to have the same voice we would likely try to find those voice artists or look for other voice artists.”

If Dark Crystal 2 happens, the obvious follow-up to Labyrinth would not be far behind. But Henson’s not thinking of an outright sequel for that world. “Actually, we’re talking about doing something different with Labyrinth but I can’t really talk about it. So we’re not really working on a sequel for Labyrinth right now, but Dark Crystal we are.”

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