David Bowie (8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016) was one of the most influential and prolific writers and performers of popular music, but he was much more than that.He was also an accomplished actor, a mime and an intellectual, as well as an art lover whose appreciation and knowledge of it had led to him amassing one of the biggest collections of 20th century art. BSIDERIFF.COM# presents a tribute to David Bowie career as an actor and mentions his most characteristic interpretations and not only…

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976)
An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.Nicolas Roeg film, that even and nowdays is remaining in front of our era, introduced the perfect person to to impersonate the starman who fell to earth.

Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (1983)
David Bowie was cast as Jack Celliers after director Nagisa Ōshima saw him in a production of The Elephant Man on Broadway. He felt that Bowie had an inner spirit that is indestructible. A movie about dignity, free spirit and the battle between different civilizations or a character battle between David Bowie and Ryuichi Sakamoto. Bowie thought his performance in the film was “the most credible performance” he had done in a film up to that point in his career.

The Hunger (1983)
He was actually 36 when he made The Hunger, the 1983 Tony Scott film described by many as “an agonizingly vampire movie”. While many agreed that it was all style and glossy set design and no story, the film has yet acquired cult status, not least because of its leading cast of Bowie, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon.One of the best moments of Bowie’s career, in a creepy, strange and amazingly beautiful film.

Absolute Beginners (1986)
Director Julien Temple reflected on the failure of his 1986 movie Absolute Beginners, which flopped at the box office despite the presence of David Bowie in a leading role, the chart success of the title track. Set in London in 1958 amid social upheaval including racial tensions and musical revolution, Absolute Beginners was based on a book Temple had sent to Bowie. The director initially asked him to supply music for the soundtrack, but Bowie, after reading the script, asked to play the character Vendice Partners.

Labyrinth (1986)

Labyrinth is a 1986 musical fantasy film directed by Jim Henson.Discussing why he chose to be involved in the film, Bowie explained, “I’d always wanted to be involved in the music-writing aspect of a movie that would appeal to children of all ages, as well as everyone else, and I must say that Jim gave me a completely free hand with it. The script itself was terribly amusing without being vicious or spiteful or bloody, and it had a lot more heart in it than many other special effects movies. So I was pretty hooked from the beginning.”

The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
On the Criterion commentary, Scorsese mentions that when The Last Temptation of Christ was in early development back in 1983, musician Sting was originally cast as Pilate. When it came time to film in 1988 Sting was not available, however, Bowie was cast. Nothing against Sting, but thank heavens things worked out the way they did. Bowie’s portrayal is so layered and memorable that the thought of anyone else in the role might seem like blasphemy.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992)
“David Bowie was unique like Elvis was unique. There’s something about him that’s so different from everybody else.”—David Lynch.
FBI Special Agent Phillip Jeffries is a fictional character in the Twin Peaks franchise. He was created by series creator David Lynch and portrayed by David Bowie. Phillip Jeffries is shown checking into a hotel in Buenos Aires. Jeffries is then seen vanishing when entering an elevator. He emerges from a different elevator several years later at the Philadelphia FBI office. He was believed to have disappeared two years ago while on assignment in Argentina. He hurries to the office of his former superior, Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole and starts raving in a loud and disturbed manner rambling about Judy while also insisting that she not be discussed, and referring at one stage to Special Agent Dale Cooper and yelling “Who do you think this/that is, there?”

Basquiat (1996)
Basquiat is a 1996 American biographical drama film directed, co-written and co-composed by Julian Schnabel in his feature directorial debut. The film is based on the life of American postmodernist/neo expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat, born in Brooklyn, used his graffiti roots as a foundation to create collage-style paintings on canvas. David Bowie plays Basquiat’s friend and mentor Andy Warhol and managed to make a remarkable performance amongst great actors like: Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Benicio del Toro and Jeffrey Wright.

The Prestige (2006)
Christopher Nolan explained Why Begged David Bowie to take the role of Tesla In The Prestige:

“Tesla was this other-worldly, ahead-of-his-time figure, and at some point it occurred to me he was the original Man Who Fell to Earth. As someone who was the biggest Bowie fan in the world, once I made that connection, he seemed to be the only actor capable of playing the part. He had that requisite iconic status, and he was a figure as mysterious as Tesla needed to be. It took me a while to convince him, though—he turned down the part the first time. It was the only time I can ever remember trying again with an actor who passed on me.“

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
We close this film tribute of David Bowie with a movie that David Bowie hasn’t playd any role, but is obvious that the main character is refered to a period og his life. We are talking about Velvet Goldmine a film written and directed by Todd Haynes. Bowie initially disapproved of the film and its many similarities with his life story, and threatened to sue, resulting in substantial rewrites to create more distance between the character and the real man.
The film centers on Brian Slade, a sexually fluid and androgynous glam rock icon who was patterned after David Bowie, Jobriath and, to a lesser extent, Marc Bolan. Ewan McGregor co-stars in the role of Curt Wild, a genre-defying performer who doesn’t back down from sex, nudity, or drugs on or off stage, and whose biographical details are based on Iggy Pop and Lou Reed (whose parents sent him to electroshock therapy to ‘cure’ his homosexual feelings). Also featured are Christian Bale as the young glam rock fan and reporter, Arthur Stuart, and Toni Collette as Slade’s wife, Mandy, who is based on Bowie’s first wife, Angela.Eddie Izzard stars as Slade’s manager, Jerry Devine.
The tale strongly parallels Bowie’s relationships with Reed and Pop in the 1970s and 1980s. Brian Slade’s gradually overwhelming on-stage persona of “Maxwell Demon” and his backing band, “Venus in Furs”, likewise bear a resemblance to Bowie’s persona and backing band. The album Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars tells a similar story of a rock star gone over the edge, and culminates in his assassination. As with Slade and Wild, Bowie produced records for, and with, both Pop and Reed. The band name “Venus in Furs” is taken from a song by Lou Reed’s early band, The Velvet Underground, which itself was taken from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s novel by the same name, which appeared on their first album. Maxwell Demon was the name of an early band of Brian Eno, a long-time Bowie associate, whose music is heard at various points in the film.

BsideRiff - 2019