10 Iconic Films That Used Talent Doubles

A filmmaker’s job is akin to that of a magician. Many films are just cleverly crafted fantasies devised to make us forget the miserable and mundane for two hours and transport us to a far away place. Movies are an illusion that audiences can’t get enough of. So what happens when the veil is lifted, and we get to take a peek behind the curtain? We found out earlier this week when we spotted this video on io9 centering on fantasy cult film Labyrinth. In the 1986 movie, David Bowie’s Goblin King can twirl a trio of crystal balls like no other, but the English musician can’t take full credit for his magic skills. His talent double did all the behind-the-scenes work.

Thanks to a group of invisible performers who posses the skills and expertise in the fields of fine art, dance, and more, Hollywood stars get to look like believable pros on the big screen. See how some of films’ most famous had a little help from their talent doubles, below.

Labyrinth

Although we’d like to believe that the Thin White Duke is capable of just about anything, including magic, David Bowie’s scenes in Jim Henson’s Labyrinth were assisted by genius juggler Michael Moschen. He literally became Bowie’s right-hand man. The King of the Goblins, Jareth, is pictured throughout the film twirling a trio of crystal balls in his hand — to try to distract us from that epic codpiece, perhaps! — but Bowie never actually performed those tricks. We can credit his talent double Moschen who actually stood behind Bowie during filming, unable to see the objects he was juggling. This video shows just how many takes the actors endured to get it right. We’d suffer through it, too, if it meant being close to the Goblin King.