After it was revealed on Thursday who would play David Bowie in his upcoming biopic Stardust, Bowie’s son, filmmaker Duncan Jones, has said that biopic doesn’t have the family's approval.
Jones responded to the news on Twitter, sharing that Stardust’s producers haven’t secured the rights to his father’s music. Jones tweeted, “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.”
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Johnny Flynn has been cast to play Bowie in Stardust, which traces the rise of the superstar beginning with his first trip to America in 1971. That trip also led to the creation of Bowie’s alter ego, Ziggy Stardust.
The film’s U.K. producer have since responded in a statement to Entertainment Weekly, saying, “We would like to clarify that this film is not a biopic, it is a moment in time film at a turning point in David’s life, and is not reliant on Bowie’s music.” They added, “The film was written as an ‘origins story’ about the beginning of David’s journey as he invented his Ziggy Stardust character, and focuses on the character study of the artist, as opposed to a hits driven ‘music’ biopic.”
Producer Paul Van Carter continued, “We offered to send the screenplay and make the [Bowie] estate involved in the creative process. We were told there wouldn’t be approval from the estate… the estate doesn’t [typically] license Bowie’s music.” He also said, “We’re not using any Bowie music. We always knew that we weren’t going to.”
Jones later tweeted at author Neil Gaiman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey, telling them that if they pitched a film on Bowie, he “would urge everyone on my end to pay attention and give the pitch serious consideration.”
Jones, who previously directed the Netflix sci-fi film Mute, took himself out of the biopic’s running. “I’m not the right person to make it. My perspective is far too uniquely subjective and personal.”
He added that he would “stay completely out of the way, cheerleading with all my heart” if someone like Gaiman and Ramsey were to spearhead a biopic. Ramsey then tweeted that he was “not worthy,” to which Jones responded, “Everything is yours for the asking. You have choices upon choices... but if you will, consider it. I think you could make something... as special as what you just accomplished with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
Marc Maron will portray Bowie’s publicist, and Jena Malone will play Bowie’s first wife and Duncan Jones’ mother, Angie.