Louis Leterrier isn’t just the man who helped shepherd the incredible Dark Crystal prequel series to life last year. He’s also, apparently, responsible for saving its puppeteered protagonists from being burnt to a crisp.
Speaking to Syfy recently, Age of Resistance co-creator Will Matthews and series writer/producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach revealed that disaster nearly struck during the summer of the show’s production at the Jim Henson Studios.
On one of the hottest days of the year, Leterrier caught a whiff of smoke while editing the series, only to find one of the soundstages Dark Crystal was shot on had caught fire. Alerting authorities, Leterrier whipped up a quick map of the studio’s layout so firefighters could quickly navigate to the blaze before it consumed the sets entirely.
“He drew it from memory,” Matthews told Syfy. “These are two football-field-sized warehouses, full of stages. And he’s doing all this in a panic moment.” Slight problem: he didn’t tell the firefighters said sets were also littered with Gelflings, Skeksis, Podlings, and countless other puppet citizens of Thra.
So when the firefighters promptly freaked the hell out, Leterrier stepped in alongside them and studio security to rescue over 40 puppets from fire and smoke damage, including multiple Skeksis—contraptions so heavy that they have multiple puppeteers inside to manipulate, and can weigh roughly 90kg.
“It was death-defying heroism,” Grillo-Marxuach added. “It was like somebody from Backdraft. It was amazing. All of us have an extraordinary veneration of Louis at this point. If he told us to jump in front of a bus, we would do it—because we’d think he would probably be able to stop the bus with his bare hands.”
Helping to craft one of the best television series of 2019 is no easy feat. Doing so having saved it from a literal fiery end? Even more so.