David Bowie’s Son Will Not Allow His Dad’s Music in Bowie biopic Stardust

David Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, has said that producers of a proposed biopic about the musician have not secured the rights to use his father’s music or the approval of his family.

Jones was responding to reports that Johnny Flynn, star of successful British independent movie Beast, had been cast to play Bowie in Stardust, a film about Bowie’s 1971 tour of the US. It is to be directed by Death of a President’s Gabriel Range.

Jones wrote on Twitter: “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.”

A report in Deadline suggested that the film, which is due to feature Jena Malone as Angie Bowie and Glow’s Marc Maron as a publicist, would contain “a small number of Bowie performances”.

A statement issued by Stardust’s producers, UK outfit Salon Pictures said: “We would like to clarify that this film … is a moment in time film at a turning point in David’s life, and is not reliant on Bowie’s music.”

“Much like Nowhere Boy for Lennon, Control for Joy Division, the production uses period music and songs that Bowie covered, but not his original tracks.”

Jones suggested instead a collaborative animated project between Neil Gaiman and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey.

Gaiman and Ramsey appeared taken by surprise at the message, but each responded positively: Gaiman tweeted: “You are the best”, while Ramsey replied: “I am not worthy!!!!”

Jones, who directed the Netflix sci-fi film Mute, also ruled himself out of taking on a biopic about his father. “I’m not the right person to make it. My perspective is far too uniquely subjective and personal.”

Film Constellation has boarded world sales on Stardust about a young David Bowie during his first visit to America in 1971, a trip that inspired the invention of his iconic alter ego Ziggy Stardust. Actor-musician Johnny Flynn (Beast) will play the young Bowie.

Jena Malone (The Hunger Games) is attached to play Bowie’s first wife, Angie, and Marc Maron (GLOW) will play his record company publicist. The project is due to feature a varied soundtrack from the era including a small number of Bowie cover performances (so in the vein of a film like Nowhere Boy).

Flynn currently is starring opposite Game of Thrones‘ Kit Harrington in a West End production of Sam Shepherd’s play True West. (Flynn plays Lee, the character currently played by Ethan Hawke in a Broadway production of the same play; Harrington and Paul Dano play Lee’s brother Austin in the productions).