This falls into that age-old category of, “Huh, that’s pretty weird.” With the sad passing of David Bowie, people have been scouring the Internet for anything related to this legend among men. One thing dug up by the good folks over at Mental Floss is the fact that the choreography and “puppet movement” for Bowie’s film Labyrinth—written and directed by Jim Henson, of course—was done by none other than Gates McFadden, the actress who would go on to portray Dr. Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She’s credited on the film as “Cheryl McFadden,” which is her actual first name, with Gates being her middle name.
The video above includes of lots of little clips of behind-the-scenes footage from the shooting of Labyrinth, as well as a quick talking head from what must have been a DVD feature later on. It paints a pretty good picture of the kind of work McFadden had to do on the movie. For the most part, this involved making people dressed up in goblin gear look and move believably, but she also got to create the dances for Jennifer Connelly’s dream sequence, where she dances with Bowie’s Jareth the Goblin King. Imagine having to tell the Thin White Duke how to move more nimbly…
This was hardly McFadden’s only choreographing gig. Henson used McFadden on his previous fantasy-fueled puppet movie, The Dark Crystal, as well. The actress also got to show off her skills as a choreographer on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She plotted out the dance from the fourth season episode “Data’s Day,” in which Dr. Crusher teaches the always-learning android how to tap dance. I was in plays in my formative years where I had to tap dance; that shiz ain’t easy, so I can only imagine what it’d be like to teach a robot how to do it.
Ah, how I love the internet. What’s your favorite unknown credit from a TNG cast member? Let us know in the comments below!
HT: Mental Floss
Image: Tristar Pictures
Kyle Anderson is the Weekend Editor and a film and TV critic for Nerdist.com. Follow him on Twitter!