Since the smash success of 2018’s Bohemian Rhapsody, music biopics have been continuing to tour to more popular musicians including Taron Egerton’s incredible Elton John in Rocketman, Timotheé Chalamet’s upcoming take on Bob Dylan and Madonna now getting involved in directing her own story. Before we see these high-profile projects take the stage, David Bowie is getting his moment with Stardust. We finally have a trailer for the Bowie biopic and it's... quiet.
Ground control to Major Tom? As you will undoubtedly notice in the Stardust trailer debut, there is not a single note of David Bowie’s music, not even a guitar riff. We’ll get into why in a moment, but the first look does tease an exciting transformation for the groundbreaking artist that would go down in history as his Ziggy Stardust era.
As the trailer sets up, Stardust will follow David Bowie when he was 24 years old and not yet the breakout star that he’s now remembered for. He’d released “Space Oddity,” but as a whole his 1971 album Hunky Dory was not connecting with people, especially in the United States. Johnny Flynn, who recently played Mr. Knightley in Emma embodies this Bowie.
Stardust sees Bowie go on a three-week promotional tour in America with this more folk-rock look. The movie will track the star’s decision to turn to the theatrics of adopting a persona, which he did throughout his career also with Thin White Duke and Halloween Jack. When Bowie decided to don the red mullet and metallics of Ziggy Stardust, that’s when his fame really blew up.
Sadly, Stardust does not have the rights to David Bowie’s music. In a trailer like this, you would expect some callbacks to his famous tracks like “Starman” or “Life on Mars?” to remind us of the singer’s incredible early work, but the trailer only mentions them. Stardust does implement the key visual aspects of Bowie’s Ziggy era, but without the music there is a vital element of his Bowie’s legacy missing here.
Since Stardust has been in development, Bowie’s son Duncan Jones has been vocal about not supporting the film. Back in 2019, he confirmed that the independent film was not granted music rights. Jones also made this public jab about the movie on Twitter:
This movie won't have any of dad's music in it, & I can't imagine that changing. If you want to see a biopic without his music or the families blessing, that's up to the audience.
Stardust also stars Jena Malone of The Hunger Games films and GLOW’s Marc Maron. It was co-written and directed by documentary filmmaker Gabriel Range. The David Bowie biopic is coming to theaters and VOD on November 25. Check out what other films are rounding out the year with CinemaBlend's 2020 release schedule.