Johnny Flynn Set to Play David Bowie in New Film ‘Stardust’

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The biopic really seems to have exploded onto the film scene with the likes of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘The Darkest Hour’ and ‘The King’s Speech’ all snatching prestigious awards. It should then come as no surprise that another one is in the works – rising star Johnny Flynn has been tipped to star in the new Bowie biopic ‘Stardust’.

You may recognise Flynn from his role in the underrated but charming Netflix show ‘Lovesick’, or more recently from the popular Sunday night dramas ‘Vanity Fair’ and ‘Les Miserables’. He also appeared alongside the likes of Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance in the 2012 Globe production of ‘Twelfth Night’. His diverse and extensive resume should put him in good stead to successfully capture the character of this much-loved cultural icon. As well as acting, Flynn has also been the lead singer and songwriter of the folk band Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit since 2006 (no Rami Malekesque lip-syncing for him then). The film itself will reportedly chronicle Bowie’s first trip to the States in 1971, which famously influenced his Ziggy Stardust persona. Alongside Flynn, Jena Malone will also be starring in the film as his wife. When asked in an interview what he considered to be his single greatest achievement, Bowie replied, “Marrying my wife. That’s the most successful thing I have ever did in my life.” It will be exciting to see how these two promising actors portray this loving partnership.

There may however be a spanner in the works already as reports suggest that Bowie’s son Duncan Jones has said that producers of the proposed film have not yet secured the rights to use his father’s music. Jones wrote on Twitter: “I’m not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn’t know I’m saying that as it stands, 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 [family’s] blessing, that’s up to the audience.”

A statement released by the producers said: “We would like to clarify that this film … is a moment in time film at a turning point in David’s life, and is not reliant on Bowie’s music.” Seemingly it will follow along the lines of ‘Nowhere Boy’ for Lennon and ‘Control’ for Joy Division in that it will give hints at the music but offer more of an emphasis on Bowie’s life instead. Given that the immense success of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ has ensued a revived interest in Queen’s music, I am sceptical as to how a film about David Bowie without any of his songs will fair amongst the die-hard fans. Time will only tell.

Hattie Graham

Image Courtesy of Steve Gullick