“David Bowie talks”: David Bowie interview from Movieline

July 23, 2004: Most of this info appears in other interviews, but check this out from the June 12, 1986 issue of Movieline. First, David Bowie explicitly refers to Jareth as some sort of alter ego; Jareth is “like a rock ‘n’ roll star,” while Bowie actually is one. This adds support to my theory that Bowie developed Jareth as an extension of his glam-rock alter identity Ziggy Stardust.

Second, Bowie sees Jareth as more than just a villain. He rules a kingdom he doesn’t want to run. He’s capable of love, even romance. I suspect David Bowie set out to play him sympathetically.

Third, Bowie thinks Jareth lusts after Sarah because of her spiritual and physical virginity. There’s a whole essay to be spun off that statement, but right now I’m just saying, “You know, David, that makes a hell of a lot of sense.”

Muchas smoochas and a great big peach to dear, dear Solea for letting me borrow the original to make available to you.

Scans from the article. 

Movieline: How were you cast for the film originally?

David Bowie: [Director] Jim Henson set up a meeting with me while I was doing my 1983 tour in the States, and he outlined the basic concept for Labyrinth and showed me some of Brian Froud’s artwork. That impressed me for openers, but he also gave me a tape of The Dark Crystal, which really excited me. I could see the potential of adding humans to his strange world. I’d always wanted to be involved in the music-writing aspect of a movie that would appeal to children of all ages, as well as everyone else, and I must say that Jim gave me a completely free hand with it. The script itself was terribly amusing without being vicious or spiteful or bloody, and it also had more heart than many other special effects movies. So I was pretty well hooked from the beginning.

ML: Were you already a fan of Jim Henson’s “Muppet Show” on TV?

DB: I suppose I was. Who wasn¹t a fan of Kermit and Miss Piggy? It would be a pretty stone-hearted person who could deny them!

ML: How do you see your character ­Jareth, the Goblin King?

DB: I think Jareth is, at best, a romantic, but, at worst, he’s a spoilt child, vain and temperamental:­ kind of like a rock ‘n’ roll star! I think he has inherited his Kingdom of Goblins reluctantly and runs it under duress. But he’s completely smitten by the character Sarah [Jennifer
Connelly]: ­ she’s pretty strong-willed, pure and, psychologically I guess, the Virgin Mary figure that some guys seem to yearn for.

ML: Will you talk about the songs you have composed for the film?

DB: One of them was “Chilly Down,” a little swamp-type number for the “Chillies” or “Wild Things,” strange woodland creatures who waylay Sarah on her travels: ­ they’re a bit cruel, but infectiously hilarious, and I thin they’re going to prove to be very popular. With “Dance Magic,” ­ the song for Jareth and the baby, sung by them and the goblins in the castle throne room, I had problems. The baby I used in the recording studios couldn’t, or wouldn’t, put more than two gurgles together, so I ended up doing the baby gurgle choruses myself! It’s an up-tempo song and visually exciting.

ML: How did you find working opposite Hoggle and other puppet goblins?

DB: I had some initial problems working with Hoggle and the rest because, for one thing, what they say doesn’t come from their mouths, but from the side of the set or from behind you or wherever because that’s the way it’s done. Once I’d overcome the disorientation, we all got along great…The goblins were terrible company at lunchtime, though!

ML: How did you get along with Jim Henson?

DB: Jim is undoubtedly the most unflappable guy I’ve ever encountered in any profession! I just can’t believe his capacity for work. For instance, he would finish shooting for the week on Labyrinth in London, catch Concorde to New York, work on a new production, TV series or whatever over the weekend, catch Concorde back to London on Sunday night, and be at the studios early on Monday morning to resume filming on Labyrinth. He’s desperately work-conscious, but he seems to love it all.

ML: Are you a movie fan?

DB: I’ve always been fascinated by the early German filmmakers, such as Pabst, Murnau and Lang, and I¹ve got a pretty good collection of their films. However, my taste is catholic, to say the least, everything from Gorman to Eisenstein to Godard. I like Jerry Lewis movies, for instance.

ML: Do you want to direct films?

DB: I’ve been directing my own videos for many years now, but I’ve never had the initiative or guts to create a big movie. I like to think that I’ll get it all together one day and do that, ­but not in the foreseeable future.

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