Johnny Flynn says some David Bowie fans think the idea of his biopic is “offensive”

"I think it's kind of sad that people would condemn something without seeing it"

Johnny Flynn says some David Bowie fans think the idea of his new biopic of the star is “offensive”.

Flynn stars as the Thin White Duke in Stardust, and recently admitted that the film is “potentially going to get a lot of flak”.

Asked if there had been any negative feedback so far by Exclaim, Flynn said: “It’s pretty much as I as I expected. I mean, there’s the Bowie fans, who don’t want you to fuck with their idea of David. But there’s also generally — rather unhelpfully, in this day and age, as you know — there’s such a kind of cancel culture on the internet, and the safety of tiny nine-inch devices, whatever they are, brings out the worst in people.

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“I feel like there’s an energy that people can’t help but be swept up and in terms of condemning things or being offended by things. It provokes interesting dialogue around ideas, but also I think it’s kind of sad that people would condemn something without seeing it,” he said.

Johnny Flynn Stardust
Johnny Flynn in ‘Stardust’ (Credit: IFC Films)

Flynn added: “Most of the the shit that we’ve been getting has been from people seeing the trailers, just the idea of the film that’s offensive to them. When people see the film, they seem to really like it. And we get great reviews.

“But I think, if anything, it will provoke some interesting debate. And I don’t mind there being a backlash to the film, because I know what our intention was, which was certainly not to be disrespectful.”

Going on to discuss how the film is not authorised by Bowie’s estate, and features none of his music, Flynn said that he and the filmmakers were always sure that Stardust was “not going to be a jukebox musical,” adding: “You can listen to the records if you want to hear David Bowie.”

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Reviewing ‘Stardust’, NME wrote: “The film works far better as a revelatory road-trip movie rather than a biopic. The growing animosity and friendship between Bowie and Oberman is beautifully built, with Maron bristling with dedicated fandom stretched to breaking point and Flynn delivering a believably troubled Bowie, plagued by flashbacks about his schizophrenic brother Terry and his fears he may be succumbing to a genetic code of mental illness.

“There’s an (albeit fictionalised) illumination to be had from Stardust, for both casual fan and hardcore Bowiephiliac.”

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