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‘Don’t Breathe’ Director Fede Alvarez Will Take Us Back to the World of ‘Labyrinth’

Labyrinth 2
Tri-Star

Everyone has that a special movie (or two) from their childhood that they feel protective of — a film so formative and beloved that even the slightest hint of “remake” elicits a drastic eyebrow-raise. For me, it’s Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, a beautiful and wildly imaginative film filled with great music, performances and wonderful Henson puppetry that also happened to introduce me to my first crush: David Bowie. (I was five. It was significant.) And although revisiting that world with a new director could be fun under the right circumstances, I reserve the right to remain skeptical.

All of which is to say I’m torn about today’s news from Deadline, which reports that TriStar has tapped Fede Alvarez, the director of Don’t Breathe and the Evil Dead remake, to helm a new Labyrinth movie — it’s not a remake or even a re-imagining, but more of a spinoff story, which would further explore the world introduced in Jim Henson’s 1986 film (which was also his last). Alvarez’s writing partner Jay Basu will script the project, which Alvarez will direct once he’s wrapped The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the long-gestating follow-up to David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

This isn’t the first time TriStar has toyed with the idea of revisiting Labyrinth. In January 2016, a report revealed that screenwriter Nicole Perlman (Captain Marvel) had been hired to script a reboot, news that came shortly after the death of original star and beloved music icon David Bowie. The backlash was immediate and harsh, with some accusing TriStar of seeking to profit off of Bowie’s passing. But in a series of tweets, Perlman explained that, like most fans, Labyrinth was her favorite childhood film, and in fact, she’d been in talks with the Henson company about the project since 2014.

Deadline’s new report makes no mention of Perlman’s draft, so it’s likely that Alvarez and Basu are starting from scratch, though TriStar remains intent on not developing a remake or reboot or anything that suggests a do-over; instead, it’s an expansion of the mythology established in Labyrinth, which, to be fair, sounds like a potentially neat idea. In a statement to Deadline, Alvarez called Henson’s film “one of the seminal movies from my childhood that made me fall in love with filmmaking,” and given his affinity for dark, bold genre filmmaking, his involvement offers some optimism.

(And having met and spoken with Alvarez, who was incredibly game to talk about my issues with Don’t Breathe, I can vouch for him as a thoughtful filmmaker, at the very least.)

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