Johnny Flynn says 'Stardust' is a 'tiny moment' in David Bowie's life, not a 'big rock biopic' (exclusive)

Emma star Johnny Flynn says playing David Bowie in the forthcoming film Stardust was “a whole crazy adventure”.

British actor Flynn, also a musician, is playing the Heroes singer – real name David Jones – before he found global fame as a glam rock icon with the release of his seminal album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars in 1972.

The film does not currently have a UK release date.

“[Stardust] will be out this year I hope,” Flynn told Yahoo at a recent press event for Emma, in which he plays George Knightley.

“We’re trying to get it into festivals and things at the minute, so we’re just finishing it. It’s crazy [the experience], it was amazing, a huge privilege to do,” he adds.

Read more: First look at Stardust

Dispelling early notions that Stardust would be a full-blown biopic like Bohemian Rhapsody or Rocketman, Flynn says the film will examine just one small chapter in Bowie’s life, while he’s on the path to global superstardom.

“It’s a very small film, it’s just a tiny moment in [Bowie’s] life, so it’s different to the other big rock biopics that have gone out recently.”

Johnny Flynn in Stardust photo (Paul van Carter)
Johnny Flynn in Stardust photo (Paul van Carter)

Emmy award-winning British filmmaker Gabriel Range (I am Slave/Death of a President) has directed from a script written by Christopher Bell (Netflix’s The Last Czars).

Hunger Games star Jena Malone is Bowie’s ambitious first wife Angie, while GLOW star Marc Maron will appear as Ron Oberman of Mercury Records, who took Bowie to America for the very first time.

Stardust will see Bowie on that first trip Stateside in 1971, a time when the ‘Rebel Rebel’ singer was searching for a breakthrough after his first four albums sunk without trace.

David Bowie at his home, Haddon Hall, at Beckenham, Kent, 20th April 1971. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)
David Bowie at his home, Haddon Hall, at Beckenham, Kent, 20th April 1971. (Photo by Daily Mirror/Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix via Getty Images)

Having enjoyed brief success with 1969’s ‘A Space Oddity’, Bowie had been written off by many as a one-hit wonder, and he flirted with a number of different musical styles before birthing the concept of his flame-haired alter-ego Ziggy Stardust within days of completing work on his folksy fourth album Hunky Dory.

Read more: Bowie rejected Danny Boyle biopic plans

The film will not feature any original David Bowie songs, as confirmed by its producers in February 2019.

In a statement Salon Pictures 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.”

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

“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.”

Here’s the synopsis: Here’s the synopsis: Meet David before Bowie. One of the greatest icons in music history; But who was the young man behind the many faces? In 1971, a 24 year old David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) embarks on his first road trip to America with struggling publicist Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), only to be met with a world not yet ready for him.

STARDUST offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the moments that inspired the creation of Bowie's first and most memorable alter ego Ziggy Stardust, capturing the turning point that cemented his career as one of the world's greatest cultural icons.

Emma is in cinemas now. See Johnny Flynn as Mr. Knightley in clip below.