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First look at Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in “origin” movie Stardust

The Emma star plays Bowie on his first visit to the US, but the movie doesn't feature the rock icon's music.

Johnny Flynn, David Bowie

A trailer has been released for the David Bowie biopic Stardust, starring Emma actor Johnny Flynn as the Thin White Duke, but the rock icon’s music is noticeably missing from it. His family did now allow its use.


Stardust is the tale of the young Bowie’s first trip to America in 1971, after he had tasted some success in the UK with the release of Space Oddity in 1969, The Man Who Sold the World in 1970 and Hunk Dory in 1971. But the film investigates the period leading up to his creation of his alster-ego, Ziggy Stardust, whose songs such as Suffragette City which led to super stardom globally.

In voiceover, he says: “Rock star or somebody impersonating a rock star – what’s the difference?”

The trailer shows Flynn playing a mysterious young man who is searching for an identity with which he can conquer the world. His Mercury Records publicist executive, Rob Oberman (Glee star Marc Maron), is exasperated at Bowie’s refusal to play the corporate game and his experimentation with cross-dressing and sexuality.

Stardust is notable for not featuring Bowie’s music, which many fans would deem essential to a biopic of the Brixton-born legend. Bowie’s family has not supported the film.

In fact, his son, Moon director Duncan Jones tweeted last year: “Im saying that as it stands, this movie won’t have any of dads music in it, & I can’t imagine that changing. If you want to see a biopic without his music or the families blessing, thats up to the audience.”

Stardust is directed by documentary maker Gabriel Range from a script by himself and Christopher Bell. Joining Maron and Flynn in the cast is The Hunger Games actress Jena Malone as Bowie’s first wife, Angie.

Flynn told Yahoo Movies that viewers should not treat it as a rock biopic; rather it was a “tiny origin” story.

“It’s quite a small film,” he said. “It’s really not in the same sort of genre or emotional feel as those big biopic films. It’s very much a tiny origin story for him. So I really hope people receive it in the way it’s meant to be received. It was a huge privilege to have a go at.”

Stardust will hit cinemas on 25th November and will stream on VOD and digital services the same day.


Check out what else is on with our TV Guide, or take a look at our new TV shows 2020 page to find out what’s airing this autumn and beyond.