Here’s Why The David Bowie ‘Stardust’ Biopic Won’t Feature ‘Ziggy Stardust’—Or Any Bowie Songs

February 1, 2019, 7:53 PM UTC
David Bowie's Death Anniversary In London
Fans pay tributes with flowers, candles and photos of iconic rock star David Bowie in Brixton, London on January 10, 2019, the third anniversary of his death. NurPhoto NurPhoto via Getty Images
NurPhoto via Getty Images

Would you watch a movie about the late, great David Bowie if it didn’t actually feature David Bowie’s music?

Audiences are going to have to decide if the recently announced film ‘Stardust,’ which chronicles the singer’s 1971 trip to the U.S. during which he created his Ziggy Stardust alter ego, is worth the ticket price if it doesn’t have the rights to play any songs from the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album.

Apart from music rights, the film also lacks the blessing of Bowie’s family.

“Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic… I would know,” Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones, tweeted shortly after news of the film broke Thursday.

“Im not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn’t know,” Jones, a filmmaker, continued. “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.” [sic]

Paul Van Carter, whose U.K. company Salon Pictures is producing the film, told Entertainment Weekly, “We always knew that we weren’t going to [use any Bowie music.]”

In fact, even though Stardust has been framed by the media as a biopic, Salon Pictures clarified in a statement to EW “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.”

The statement continued, “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.”

Van Carter then alluded to the music-filled, Academy Award-nominated Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody—which has grossed $819,792,634 worldwide since its Nov. 2 release, according to Box Office Mojo—saying that Stardust wasn’t trying to replicate that film’s style or budget.

Although Bowie’s estate didn’t grant approval to Stardust, Jones indicated that all hope isn’t lost for a David Bowie movie with David Bowie music.

Jones tweeted that if American Gods creator Neil Gaiman and Into the Spider-Verse director Peter Ramsey teamed up to turn Bowie’s characters into an animated film, “I would urge everyone on my end to pay attention and give the pitch serious consideration.”