Now, Flynn has responded to the controversial comments about Stardust ahead of the biopic’s debut this week. As well, he’s revealed why he rejected the opportunity to portray Bowie at first.
The biopic has been at the center of disagreement over the past year after Bowie’s son Duncan Jones made it known that his family never authorized the use of his late father’s music in the project. As it turns out, Jones was unaware of the film until Flynn was cast in 2019.
“I think this journalist needs to do some investigative reporting,” he tweets. “Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for any biopic…I would know.”
I think this journalist needs to do some investigative reporting. Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic… I would know.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 31, 2019
“Im not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn’t know. 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.”
Im not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn’t know.
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.
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) January 31, 2019
Despite the lack of approval from Bowie’s family, Stardust went ahead as planned. Directed by filmmaker Gabriel Range, Stardust focuses on the events leading up to Bowie adopting his iconic Ziggy Stardust persona.
Last month, viewers got their first look at Stardust when the official trailer debuted. The trailer follows Bowie as he lands in America for a publicity tour where he continues to test the patience of his publicist Ron Oberman (Marc Maron). The trailer goes on to show how an identity crisis and built-up pressure eventually led to the creation of his Ziggy Stardust persona.
Unsurprisingly, the Stardust soundtrack does not include any of Bowie’s classic songs from the Ziggy Stardust album. As well, the film faced some backlash from Bowie’s fans for not respecting his family’s wishes. Meanwhile, others are still wondering why Flynn was cast as Bowie in the first place.
It’s a good job that the trailer for Stardust mentions David Bowie’s name throughout, because I would have had no idea that it was supposed to be him otherwise.
— DomJo (@DomusCaligari) October 28, 2020
Just saw the new ‘Stardust’ trailer and as a huge David Bowie fan, I am extremely let down… Tilda Swinton would have been perfect for the role
— (´A｀) (@lunexnoire) October 28, 2020
The movie was doomed from the start. It was moronic of them to go forward with it knowing full well Bowie’s family didn’t support it.
— Nathalie Jerez (@barrio_bruja) October 30, 2020
Now, Flynn has broken his silence on the controversy surrounding Stardust and its trailer. He tells Yahoo! that even he wasn’t happy with the way the trailer turned out.
“I’m not so happy with the trailer, if I’m honest,” he says. “I think it kind of looks like it’s trying to upsell the film in a kind of cynical way.”
As well, he reveals he was also cynical about the project when he was first approached by Range.
“In fact, I tried to turn it down the first time I read the script,” Flynn said. “I was like, ‘No way, nobody should touch that. It’s not something that should be done or attempted.’ But when I realized what the story was that Gabriel was trying to tell, I thought, ‘This is really worthwhile and really interesting, and is totally not offensive.’”
Although he understands why some fans are upset over Stardust, he urges them to see the film first before drawing conclusions.
“Because it’s just about what it is to be a young artist, asking those questions,” he said. “And I feel if people just saw the film, they would get it. They’d be like, ‘Oh, this is interesting.’ You may not like it — that’s the way things work, people either agree with you or not — but it doesn’t have to be ‘canceled.’”
Flynn also says he has a lot of respect for Duncan Jones and Bowie’s family. In the end, the last thing Flynn wants to do is offend anyone with this onscreen portrayal.
“I have huge amount of respect for Duncan and I love the films that he’s made and I certainly wouldn’t want to offend anyone,” Flynn states. “I just think, if you see the film, you can’t really be offended by it. … It means a lot to me, and I care. I care a lot about it, because I always knew it’d be a huge risk to do. I didn’t take it on lightly.”
He assures fans and viewers of Stardust that the film was created with complete love and admiration for David Bowie.
“This is a film made with a huge amount of love and respect for David as an artist, but you know, there’s a danger in having to consult, having to have things approved and things like that,” he said. “And I think with anything like this, you can’t necessarily trust it if it hasn’t been told with a complete sort of objectivity.”
Stardust arrives on Nov. 25, 2020. The official trailer and Johnny Flynn’s interview with Yahoo! are available below.
What are your reactions to Johnny Flynn’s comments? Are you going to see Stardust? Let us know in the comments below.