On Wednesday, Netflix tweeted the “fun fact” that Toby Froud, the design supervisor on the streaming service’s new show The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, is no stranger to the fantastical world of Jim Henson. In fact, as the tweet pointed out, Froud played the baby in 1986’s Labyrinth, the David Bowie-starring film that marked Henson’s follow-up to the original Dark Crystal movie.
You may well be wondering how Froud came to acquire this unique CV. Well, his parents are conceptual designer Brian Froud and designer and puppet builder Wendy Froud, Henson regulars who worked on both The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, which explains Toby’s presence in the latter movie. But how did he wind up working on The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance more than three decades after the release of Henson and Frank Oz’s original film?
“Brian met his wife, Wendy Froud, who was the designer of the Gelflings, on the movie,” says Lisa Henson, who is the daughter of the late Jim Henson, the CEO and president of the Jim Henson Company, and an executive producer on Age of Resistance. “She was a doll sculptor — beautiful, delicate work. They fell in love, they got married, they had a son named Toby, who actually played the baby in Labyrinth. He then grew up to be a really wonderful artist in his own right.”
She continues, “When we were going into production on [Age of Resistance], he was sculpting at Laika [the studio responsible for ParaNorman and Kubo and the Two Strings, among other movies], doing stop-motion animation. We loved his work, we asked him to come to L.A. and work in the creature shop on the initial build of characters for the show. He did the sculpted maquettes of the lead characters. As weeks went by, we realized he was providing an invaluable role helping to translate his parents’ designs into the concrete build of the puppets and the costumes. Toby was really in charge of translating all of the designs into the actual build and the look of the puppets.”
So, there you go!
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is now streaming on Netflix.