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First Look at Johnny Flynn as Bowie in Stardust Is Here, Whether Anyone Wants It or Not

Johnny Flynn as David Bowie.

I have a lot of questions: First, why do we make unauthorized biopics? Second, how are you going to make a movie about the real life alien known as David Bowie and then not have the rights to his music? There’s a lot of controversy around Bowie not-quite-biopic Stardust, mainly that Bowie’s family does not want it to be made, but fans are in love with Johnny Flynn playing the musician prior to his Ziggy Stardust persona.

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My reaction is a little mixed, because biopics often make me uneasy. I don’t like when they sell fiction as fact, and I hate when they take an icon I know and love and tell lies for the purpose of a “good story.” (Looking at you, Bohemian Rhapsody.)

Anyway, the first image of Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in Stardust emerged today, and while Flynn has a striking similarity to Bowie and his iconic out-of-this-world looks, there still remains the fact that the Bowie estate is not behind this movie. On the other hand, stories like Rocketman can play on the legacy of these larger-than-life icons of the music industry while making it clear that they’re more tribute than biography.

So, if Stardust is taking a page from Rocketman‘s book, then I am going to go into it with the knowledge that this is to honor David Bowie and his space-like persona in the best possible way. If it tries to sell me all of this story as facts, when Bowie’s actual family does not agree with it, I’m going to have a different approach to the movie. But all we have in this moment is a picture and the knowledge that they’re going to have Flynn most likely singing covers of popular songs that Bowie himself covered during that time, since they don’t have the rights to Bowie’s discography.

Bowie’s son, Moon director Duncan Jones, has spoken about the film and how they do not have the rights to the music or the blessing from the estate to make it.

It’s an interesting dynamic, because I understand why the family doesn’t want a movie about Bowie in the works. That’s someone’s father, husband, son, and with the way that Bohemian Rhapsody, in my opinion, besmirched the icon that Freddie Mercury is, I’m very wary of what Stardust is going to be.

Anyway, what if we took Jones’s and Taika Waititi’s suggestions for this movie and lived our best lives?

What is Stardust going to be? We don’t know yet, but I’m very cautiously excited about it, and I can’t wait to see more in a trailer.

(via Variety, image: Paul Van Carter)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh.

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