It’s amazing some researchers haven’t figured out a way of determining personalities based on what aspect of Frank Oz’s career one is impressed with. Of course there’s Yoda — Frank voiced the beloved, and powerful, Jedi master, operated the puppet for most of the STAR WARS films, and for many helped form the heart and soul of the franchise. For me, it’s both the time he spent with Jim Henson — developing characters such as Miss Piggy and Grover and innovating puppetry in that surprisingly visionary company — and his work in the director’s chair for LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, taking the musical stage adaptation of the Roger Corman’s dark comedy and creating a rich and wondrous, albeit murderous, film world. I was able to talk with Oz on the occasion of the Blu-ray release of the film, which restores the original, apocalyptic Don’t Feed the Plants finale that was cut from the theatrical release. We also got to talk Muppets, STAR WARS, and the mysterious allure of sequel rumors. Click on the player to hear the show.
Lest we forget that Jim Henson was about more than Kermit and Big Bird (ahem, DARK CRYSTAL, THE STORYTELLER, and on, and on…), this year’s New York Comic Con staged a panel in which Henson archivist Karen Falk and Archaia Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy exhibited footage from the Muppet-master’s experimental short films, commercials, and TV plays, and discussed the imminent publication of Tale of Sand, a wry, surreal, Kafkaesque graphic novel based on an unfilmed script co-written by Henson and frequent writing partner Jerry Juhl.
After the presentation, Falk and Christy granted us a few minutes to discuss Henson’s eclectic soul, how that translated into the furiously antic/ominous vision that became TALE OF SAND, and how Henson’s history is tied inextricably to that of CFQ. Click on the player to hear the interview.
Today The Jim Henson Company posted an official press release for the DARK CRYSTAL sequel, POWER OF THE DARK CRYSTAL, on their website. Rumours about a DARK CRYSTAL sequel have been abound for years now but it seems as if it’s actually happening as Paul and Michael Spierig (DAYBREAKERS, UNDEAD) have signed on to direct the film in Australia, and in 3D.
The script, written by Craig Pearce (MOULIN ROUGE!, ROMEO + JULIET), apparently takes place hundreds of years after the events of the original film, when when dark forces have once again fallen across the land. A girl made of fire must, with the help of a Gelfling outcast, to use a fragment of the titular crystal to re-start the sun. Legendary fantasy artist Brian Froud (DARK CRYSTAL, LABYRINTH) has already begun creating the conceptual design for the movie, which is to blend traditional puppetry and animatronics with CGI. The Spierigs, speaking of the project, state,
“We feel a tremendous amount of responsibility in telling this story with the same meticulous care that Jim Henson and Frank Oz gave the 1982 original. This is a chance to take the world of puppetry into the modern age by using modern techniques (like motion capture CGI) and the tried and true methods (like puppetry and animatronics) to create a one hundred percent real world that is unique to THE DARK CRYSTAL”.
While a sequel to such a beloved film is risky business, and the Spierig brothers don’t exactly have the best track record, the fact that Froud is involved and directors’ intentions to use animatronics as well as CGI is encouraging. We’ll have to see how this one pans out as more news comes our way.