Jemaine Clement confirms the comedy duo approached Bowie
David Bowie was approached to play himself in Flight Of The Conchords, but turned down the offer as it was too similar to his cameo on Extras.
Jemaine Clement of the comedy duo has written a lengthy piece explaining his love of Bowie and how he and partner Bret McKenzie came to write ‘Bowie’s In Space’, a song they performed live as a stage act and then used in their HBO series years later.
Their spoof Bowie song appears in the first season of Flight Of The Conchords and sees both Clement and McKenzie dressing as Bowie for the performance. However, the original plan was to have the man himself appear in the episode and an ambitious plan involving Ricky Gervais and director James Bobin was hatched.
“‘Who would play Bowie, though?’ James said, ‘We’ll ask him. Gervais knows him.’ Oh My Space Deity. Would it really be him? Were we really going to ask the Starman himself to act alongside us?” Clement writes in New Zealand’s The Spin-Off.
“Someone we knew was going to ask someone they knew – who knew a friend of his who would ask him who represented him, so someone who represented us would to talk to someone who would talk directly to him! We pretty much had a direct line. We could be considered friends, peers, contemporaries, albeit ones who were born slightly late.
“We were at once excited, nervous, optimistic and pessimistic. What if he read it the wrong way? What if he thought our recording was square – our guitar playing lacking groove? What if he didn’t like the way I’d written him, his character reduced to a dandy who spoke in 70s jive talk? What if his coolness absorbed us like a black hole, ceasing our very existences? All reasonable questions.
“The someone we knew talked to the someone they knew’s friend of someone who represented him and possibly approached him about it. And he (or quite possibly merely a representative) said that he’d just done Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s Extras and didn’t want to do another thing acting as a version of him.”
Elsewhere in the article Clement explains how they considered casting Noel Fielding as Bowie and that British comedian Dan Antopolski was also meant to play Bowie but scenes he shot in London were scrapped. He also says he was told by a friend that Bowie had their tribute on his iPod.
Bowie passed away on Sunday (January 10) following an 18 month battle with cancer. Reports have since suggested that he “died from liver cancer” after “surviving six heart attacks”.