First clip of Johnny Flynn's David Bowie in new movie 'Stardust'

1972-Japan.David Bowie As Ziggy Stardust. Credit: 346917_Globe Photos/MediaPunch /IPX
David Bowie As Ziggy Stardust in Japan, 1972 (Credit: Globe Photos/MediaPunch/IPX)

The first look at forthcoming David Bowie biopic Stardust has landed online, with British actor and musician Johnny Flynn as the iconic musician.

Directed by Gabriel Range, the movie pivots on Bowie’s trip to the US in 1971, during which he's said to have devised his Ziggy Stardust alter-ego.

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However, this first-look footage from the movie seems to focus more on comedian and podcaster Marc Maron as Bowie's US publicist Rob Oberman.

As Flynn's Bowie expresses concern that his American label might not be behind him, Maron's Oberman insists that he'll be 'the biggest goddamn star in America'.

The film also stars Jena Malone, who will play Bowie's first wife Angie, though it has some not inconsiderable obstacles to overcome.

As well as losing its premiere slot at the Tribeca Film Festival, which should have been taking place this week but has since been postponed, it's not allowed to use any of Bowie's music.

On hearing about the production, Bowie's son Duncan Jones said: “Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic... I would know.

Johnny Flynn in Stardust (Credit: Paul van Carter)
Johnny Flynn in Stardust (Credit: Paul van Carter)

“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 and 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.”

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After Jones's remarks, the movie's production company Salon Pictures said that it was not intended to be a biopic.

It said in a statement: We would like to clarify that this film is not a biopic, it is a moment in time film at a turning point in David’s life, and is not reliant on Bowie’s music.

“Much like Nowhere Boy for Lennon, Control for Joy Division, the production uses period music and songs that Bowie covered, but not his original tracks.

“The film was written as an ‘origins story’ about the beginning of David’s journey as he invented his Ziggy Stardust character, and focuses on the character study of the artist, as opposed to a hits driven ‘music’ biopic.”

Variety has also just published its review of the movie, though unfortunately, it’s not quite a rave.

Stardust comes to seem like a glam-rock Green Book…minus the subtlety (and the glam rock),” writes Owen Gleiberman.

“When Bowie, at the end, performs his first London concert as Ziggy Stardust... we feel, for a moment, the liberation of a rock star who has found himself by leaving himself behind. The movie gives us only a small taste of it, but it’s enough to whet your appetite: for a Bowie biopic that captures this cracked actor in all his funhouse-mirror rock ‘n’ roll glory.”

The film is set for release later this year.