young david bowie movie

With Bohemian Rhapsody cleaning up at the box office (and earning Oscar nominations to boot), it was only a matter of time before a David Bowie movie reared its glittery head. Stardust is that movie, and it will star Johnny Flynn as the young Bowie making his first visit to America in 1971. Marc Maron will also appear in the film as Bowie’s publicist, and Jena Malone will play Bowie’s wife at the time, Angie. But can anyone really capture the essence of David Bowie (other than Tilda Swinton)?

You could argue that we already have the quintessential David Bowie movie, and it’s called Velvet Goldmine. But in this day and age when cookie-cutter biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody break the bank, it’s inevitable that we’ll be receiving a more traditional Bowie movie. In this case, it’s a young David Bowie movie called Stardust. Rather than covering the Thin White Duke’s entire life, Stardust will focus on Bowie’s first trip to the states in 1971.

Johnny Flynn, an actor who appeared in Clouds of Sils Maria, will play Bowie, and I wish him the best of luck, because it’s going to damn near impossible to capture what made the artist so special. Jena Malone will play Angela Barnett, whom Bowie married in 1970. And Marc Maron is playing Bowie’s record company publicist.

Bowie first went to America to promote his third album, The Man Who Sold the World. There, he embarked on a coast-to-coast publicity tour. During this tour, Bowie came up with the idea of his Ziggy Stardust character, inspired in part by American artists like Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. In other words, Stardust sounds like it’s going to be an origin story, revealing how Bowie eventually adopted one of his many personas.

Christopher Bell, writer of the upcoming series The Last Czars, is tackling the script, while Gabriel Rang, director of Death of a President and I Am Slave, will helm. Salon Pictures is producing. All in all, this sounds like a much smaller production than Bohemian Rhapsody, and might make for a much more intimate movie. If so, I still think it’s only a matter of time before we end up with a big, expensive Bowie biopic. Give it time.

For now, we’ll have to make due with Stardust. At the very least, I’m sure Marc Maron will be fun to watch here, as he always seems to do something memorable, no matter what the material.

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