When you think of the best family movies, you probably don’t think of David Bowie’s bulge. Yet anyone who’s had the pleasure of watching the Jim Henson fantasy movie Labyrinth will definitely have thought, at least once, The Thin White Duke’s package.
We don’t blame you. Jareth the Goblin King’s (Bowie) codpiece is very prominent, to say the least, probably more than would be appropriate for a kids movie these days, but it was the ’80s, and prudishness hadn’t been invented back then. Also, it turns out Jareth’s whole weird sexual vibe was deliberate on the part of the filmmakers.
The man behind the Star Wars movies George Lucas who served as executive producer on the film, admitted they wanted to make the character as alluring as possible while making the documentary Journey Through the Labyrinth.
“Like the devil, he’s completely alluring, completely a character that draws people in, and people are infatuated with,” Lucas explained. “Who better to play the character than a rockstar because that’s what they are.”
Brian Froud, the creature designer on the adventure movie, expanded on this. “I expanded on the Jareth character; he’s also a romantic hero, he’s contemporary with the leather jacket, there’s armour on it which refers to 15th-century knights,” Froud explained. “I gave him a swagger stick with a crystal ball on it, but if you look at it, it’s a microphone.”
“There’s a lot of subtleties going on in that,” he continued. “He is supposed to be a young girl’s dream of a pop star, and we got in a lot of trouble about maybe how tight his pants were, but that was deliberate.”