Toby Froud, who was a toddler when he played baby Toby in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, is now 34 years old and the design supervisor for Netflix’s The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance. Entertainment Weekly reports that Netflix shared the news on Twitter. “Fun Fact—Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance design supervisor Toby Froud is no stranger to the fantastical world of Jim Henson,” Netflix tweeted. “He was also the baby in the truly iconic 1986 movie Labyrinth!”
Really, it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise when you consider Froud’s lineage. Toby’s parents, Brian and Wendy Froud, worked as a conceptual designer and a puppet builder, respectively, on the original Dark Crystal and Labyrinth. In fact, Brian designed the bulbous costume worn by the Goblin King (David Bowie). According to Age of Resistance executive producer Lisa Henson, Brian met Wendy (who also sculpted Yoda) while she worked as a doll sculptor on The Dark Crystal, and the rest is history.
Toby followed in his parents’ footsteps. He worked as a sculptor on stop-motion animation studio Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings and Missing Link, and directed a short puppet film entitled Lessons Learned. IMDb lists him as a puppet sculptor for Guillermo Del Toro’s upcoming Pinocchio film.
When Lisa Henson was hiring the team for the new Dark Crystal series, she contacted Toby and invited him to L.A., where he created the sculpted maquettes (a preliminary model or sketch) 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,” Henson told Entertainment Weekly. “Toby was really in charge of translating all of the designs into the actual build and the look of the puppets.”
For Toby, opting to work with puppets was probably a no-brainer. “It’s interesting growing up with the idea of being the baby in the Labyrinth and becoming the Goblin King as it were,” Froud told HuffPost. “It’s sort of passing the mantle. But I grew up in this world of fantasy and this world of goblins, and I sort of formed my life around the art of creating creatures and puppets and characters with my parents. Certainly it’s led me to interning and working in film and television.”
(Just don’t say “slap that baby” to Toby.)
[h/t Entertainment Weekly]