Stardust on OCS: why this biopic on David Bowie sparked controversy? – Cinema News


Available on OCS, Gabriel Range’s “Stardust” looks back on an important turning point in David Bowie’s career: his first tour of the United States and the creation of his famous stage character, Ziggy Stardust.

In cinema, the big names on the international scene are popular. The biopics on the stars of the music follow one another, some successful, others less. While films on Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley are expected soon, Gabriel Range’s Stardust is coming to OCS. Stardust as Ziggy Stardust, an intergalactic character created by David Bowie in 1972.

On the occasion of the release of his fifth album, entitled The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, the musician offers this double which will mark the rest of his career. This is, in part, the subject of this feature film.

Announced in 2019, three years after the death of the glam rock icon, the project is greeted coldly by his fans and his family, starting with Duncan Jones, his son. Sure his Twitter account, he lets it be known that no member of the Jones clan has given their consent to start production of the film and that, therefore, no original songs can be used. “If you want to see a biopic without its music and the blessing of its family, it’s up to you“, he launches in a message posted on January 31, 2019.

This is not the first time that a musical biopic has failed to secure the rights to songs from an artist or group. In 1994, the film Backbeat by Iain Softley retraced the beginnings of the Beatles without using their songs, just like Jimi, All Is By My Side by John Ridley who was interested in a young Jimi Hendrix. The other point of contention surrounding Stardust concerns the choice of its lead actor, Johnny Flynn.


Johnny Flynn in “Stardust”.

The latter, also a musician in life, plays a 24-year-old David Bowie. Many fans consider the performer to be too old – Johnny Flynn is 36 at the time of filming – and hardly resembles. In its review, the media Variety regrets that the actor looks more like “Viggo Mortensen with stringy hair“.

Yes Stardust stays true to reality when it tackles the artist’s struggles to perform in the United States in his early days, the film portrays a portrayal of David Bowie maligned by his admirers. In a press release shared by Entertainment Weekly, producer Paul Van Carter nevertheless defends the project and asserts that Stardust is interested above all “to the origins of the character’s beginnings of Ziggy Stardust“.

This is not a big budget musical biopic like Bohemian Rhapsody, he continues. Stardust is above all a sensitive tribute to a unique moment in the life of David Bowie. “The spectators will be the only judges.

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