EXCLUSIVE: TriStar has set Fede Alvarez to direct a film that will delve into the universe Jim Henson hatched in the 1986 Jim Henson-directed cult classic Labyrinth. Alvarez and Jay Basu will co-write the story, with the latter penning the script. The duo will take on that hallowed project after Alvarez directs the script he wrote with Basu for The Girl in the Spider’s Web, the continuation of the Lisbeth Salander saga that Sony began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Alvarez, who helmed for Sony the genre blockbuster Don’t Breathe, will do Labyrinth after he and Basu complete Spider’s Web. That film is casting and will begin production this fall.
Insiders stress that what they will do with Labyrinth after The Girl in the Spider’s Web is create a new story within the universe created in the original movie and that it is not a remake; indeed it sounds more like a spinoff than a sequel. The original was the last film Muppets creator Jim Henson directed before he died tragically in 1990 at 53. Jennifer Connelly played a teen who wished away her baby brother. When the Goblin King Jareth (played by David Bowie) stole the infant away and took him to his castle to be turned into a goblin, the regretful teen has to find her way through his maze-like kingdom to rescue her sibling. The movie wasn’t a box office smash, but it was considered one of the strongest screen turns for Bowie and is beloved by a lot of filmmakers. Bowie’s character will not be part of this. The film is a co-production between TriStar Pictures and the Jim Henson Co. with Alvarez and Basu writing the script. Lisa Henson of the Henson Co. will produce, and Nicole Brown will oversee for TriStar.
The studio confirmed, and Alvarez told Deadline: “Labyrinth is one of the seminal movies from my childhood that made me fall in love with filmmaking. I couldn’t be more thrilled to expand on Jim Henson’s mesmerizing universe and take a new generation of moviegoers back into the Labyrinth.”
Basu is the Cambridge-educated British writer who moved from London to be a part of the Universal Monsters writers group, this after writing his first novel, The Stars Can Wait, and landing several scripts on the Brit List. He co-wrote Vertigo Films’ sequel Monsters: Dark Continent with Tom Green, and first worked with Alvarez on an adaptation of the EA game Dante’s Inferno for Universal. He has since done projects including U’s Talon for Chris Morgan, Metal Gear Solid for Sony and Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Red Queen for Universal and adapted the Joe Hill novel The Fireman for Fox.
Alvarez, who also directed the Evil Dead remake, is repped by WME and Stuart Manashil and Basu by UTA, 42’s Josh Varney, Kaplan/Perrone and attorney Peter Nichols.