Johnny Flynn on the lack of David Bowie songs in David Bowie biopic: “We’re potentially going to get a lot of flak”

The film instead focuses on a moment in Bowie’s life.

Johnny Flynn and David Bowie

Image: Elisabetta Villa / Michael Ochs Archives / Getty

Johnny Flynn, the lead actor in an upcoming biopic about David Bowie, has expressed his concern when it comes to fan response to the film. Stardust focuses on a turning point in Bowie’s life, as he travels across the US in 1971 – right as Ziggy Stardust begins to form. The film will feature no songs written or released by David Bowie.

Speaking to the Guardian, Flynn said that “we’re potentially going to get a lot of flak from the Bowie army” when it came to the lack of his music in Stardust. He noted that the song he wrote for Bowie to perform in the film isn’t perfect, as it comes at a time in Bowie’s life when he’s yet to fully find his identity: “I don’t think it’s crap, but I knew it didn’t have to be a brilliant song. He had this sense of failure, he wanted to be someone else and hadn’t found a way of capitalising on that yet. So I tried to write this song as Bowie ripping off Lou Reed.”

Duncan Jones, David Bowie’s son, confirmed last year that the film will not have any of his father’s music in it – writing “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, & I can’t imagine that changing. If you want to see a biopic without his music or the [family’s] blessing, that’s up to the audience.”

The film premiered digitally earlier this year after plans for film-festival premieres fell through thanks to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. A theatrical release is set for this year.

For more music news, click here.


Get the latest news, reviews and features to your inbox.


The world’s leading authority and resource for all things guitar.

Join our mailing list

Sign Up Now

© 2023 is part of NME Networks.