Johnny Flynn says he received “homophobic abuse” for playing David Bowie

“It’s weird, it's like the world hasn't changed"

Johnny Flynn has said he received “homophobic abuse” for playing David Bowie in Stardust.

The actor, speaking to NME in a new interview, detailed the “hate mail” he received from fans regarding his depiction of the beloved musician.

“I’m not big into social media, but I was getting a lot of violent hate mail and stuff from people saying: ‘You played him like he’s insecure,'” Flynn said. “And then homophobic abuse: ‘You’re playing him all fey. Why is he wearing a dress?’”


“It’s weird,” he went on. “It’s like the world hasn’t changed. People get upset about Harry Styles wearing a dress. So I’m happy that the film might be an education for people that breaks down some made-up version of David that they have in their mind.”

Flynn continued: “That in itself felt like justification for doing it, to shine a light on a David that you didn’t see. People think he arrived in 1972, ‘73 as Ziggy, this alien, and there was so much going on before that and so much that went into that. David needed to make Ziggy to save himself from himself.”

The film depicts Bowie travelling across the USA in 1971, shortly before he received widespread acclaim by reinventing himself as Ziggy Stardust.

Bowie’s family previously distanced themselves from the project, confirming the biopic is unauthorised and doesn’t feature any of his music.

In a four-star review of Stardust, NME said that “the film works far better, then, as a revelatory road-trip movie rather than a biopic,” calling Flynn’s performance “beautifully troubled.”


Stardust will be available to watch on digital platforms from January 15.