Film News: Actor who will play David Bowie in upcoming biopic is controversially revealed

South African-born actor and musician Johnny Flynn has been cast as David Bowie in the upcoming biopic Stardust – and judging by the seismic reaction on Twitter, people don’t seem to be too happy about it.

The actor, who starred in the Netflix series Lovesick and has portrayed Albert Einsten in the series Genius, will be joined by Donnie Darko’s Jena Malone and GLOW’s Marc Maron. Although nobody is criticizing his acting chops, disparaging twitter users are already hailing the decision as being an enormous miscast – before filming has even begun.

(L-R) Johnny Flynn, David Bowie


For years, fans have clamoured for Tilda Swinton to play the Thin White Duke if there was ever to be a film made about the androgynous singer, pointing out that the two were also close friends. Others have also suggested that Domnhall Gleeson or Dane DeHaan would have been better suited to the role than the rather rugged and more typically masculine-appearing Flynn.

In fact, Twitter users haven’t seemed to keen on the idea of a biopic at all, after the “uselessly formulaic” Bohemian Rhapsody was panned by critics (despite enjoying a commercial success). Films about Elton John (Rocket Man) and Celine Dion (The Power of Love), are also currently in the works. People are generally very protective of the pioneering, gender-bending singer, and so the idea of a poorly-cast film about their hero has sent fans into a frenzy. A miscast can make or break a film; one only needs look at On The Basis Of Sex, a film about Ruth Bader Ginsberg, that was well received except for it being near-universally agreed that Felicity Young was not right for the role.

Fan favourites of actors who should play David Bowie (L-R): Domhnall Gleeson, Tilda Swinton, Dane Dehaan


The late singer’s son, Duncan Jones, has stated that he hasn’t granted permission for any of his father’s songs to be used in the film, which will track the singer’s fateful journey to the USA in 1971 that inspired the creation of his famous alter-ego, Ziggy Stardust.

It seems unfair to dismiss a film before principal photography has even begun, especially on Flynn himself. Stardust’s production company, Salon Pictures, released a statement saying “Johnny Flynn is one of the UK’s most talented emerging actors and a musician in his own right.” One thing is for sure, though: the film is set to divide all opinions.

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