See The First Look At David Bowie In Upcoming Musical Biopic Stardust

David Bowie in the Man Who Fell to Earth
(Image credit: (British Lion Films))

Within the past year, audiences have watched Rami Malek channel Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in his Oscar-winning performance Bohemian Rhapsody, Taron Egerton’s Elton John in glittery musical Rocketman and Himesh Patel havea Beatles fantasy down Penny Lane in Yesterday. Bruce Springsteen’s music is being highlighted in the recently released Blinded By the Light. Another one of the all-time greats is coming to the big screen. Check out Johnny Flynn’s David Bowie below:

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Anyone else just do a double take? The Lovesick actor will be playing a 24-year-old David Bowie in the upcoming indie Stardust. Johnny Flynn’s Bowie follows the music icon during his first road trip to America in 1971 as he discovers his upcoming persona Ziggy Stardust he’d famously debut on stage a year later. He is donning a lesser-known early look for Bowie that he had when he made his fourth album “Hunky Dory”.

At the time, he had not been signed by a record label and his first three albums had not been successful. He journeyed to America for a three-week promotional tour where he traveled by bus from D.C. to California while sporting a more folk-rock look and writing songs such as “Song for Bob Dylan” and “Queen Bitch”. When Bowie became Ziggy Stardust, it began his rise to fame that would have his music dominate the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Stardust reportedly began production in June with documentary director Gabriel Range directing the project written by newcomer Christopher Bell. The film’s star Johnny Flynn is best known for playing young Albert Einstein in the National Geographic series Genius and he is the frontman in his own folk rock group, Johnny Flynn & the Sussex Wit, since 2008.

Flynn will be joined by GLOW’s Marc Maron who will be playing Bowie’s publicist Ron Oberman and the Hunger GamesJena Malone as David Bowie’s wife Angie. Stardust is an independently produced by Salon Pictures, being sold by Film Constellation and co-financed by Christopher Figg of Piccadilly Pictures. The biopic may make its way into a film festival in hopes of being picked up by a major studio.

Considering Johnny Flynn has music chops, one would expect that he’d try his hand at covering some of David Bowie’s early songs such as “Changes”, “Life on Mars” and “Space Oddity”, now considered classics among the late musicians massive discography? However, Bowie’s son Duncan Jones has criticized the project and previously announced the film would not receive music rights or his family’s blessing. In his words on Twitter back in January:

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David Bowie passed away in 2016 at 69 years old of liver cancer. There’s certainly an interest in seeing more biopics about musicians with giant fanbases. However, this project differs from recent ones of its kind because it’s a smaller production and receiving pushback from Bowie’s family.

What do you think of this early look at Stardust? Sound off in the comments below!

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.