Entertainment

David Bowie ‘at the height of his beauty’ in ‘Man Who Fell to Earth’

“The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Showtime’s new collection starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomi Harris, is based on the 1976 movie starring David Bowie and Candy Clark — which made a splash with its onscreen nudity and trippy tackle a humanoid who arrives on Earth in a bid to save lots of his planet from extinction.

“It’s form of about what’s taking place at present in its depiction of a planet that’s dying from a drought,” Clark, 74, instructed The Submit about director Nicolas Roeg’s movie, which was primarily based on Walter Nevis’ 1963 sci-fi novel. “It’s undoubtedly the spotlight of my appearing profession.”

“The Man Who Fell to Earth” started capturing in New Mexico in July 1975. Clark was coming off her Oscar-nominated function (as Debbie Dunham) in “American Graffiti”; Bowie, 28, was an iconic rock star (“House Oddity,” and Ziggy Stardust) and starring in his first big-screen function — a la Mick Jagger within the 1970 film “Efficiency,” additionally directed by Roeg.

Bowie performed Thomas Newton, who lands on Earth with a plan to earn sufficient cash together with his sensible patents to return to his planet and save his spouse and kids from sure dying. He encounters waitress Mary-Lou (Clark), who’s unaware of his origins (he says he’s from England; Bowie makes use of his actual British accent) or how he seems below his human exterior. They fall in love at the start unravels over the following many years (it’s difficult). Rip Torn, Buck Henry and Bernie Casey co-star.

Candy Clark and David Bowie as Mary-Lou and Thomas Newton in "The Man Who Fell to Earth." They're lying on a bed, fully clothed, with Candy on top of David, who's holding a black briefcase.
Sweet Clark and David Bowie as Mary-Lou and Thomas Newton in “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”
Courtesy Everett Assortment

(Clark additionally performs Newton’s spouse within the ethereal, silent scenes depicting his parched dwelling planet.)

“I used to be aware of his music however hadn’t ever seen him in live performance and I’m glad I by no means did as a result of I’d have been too awestruck throughout our scenes,” Clark mentioned of Bowie. “He was mainly simply one other actor in entrance of me, however after we shot the movie and it was popping out I noticed him [in concert] as [his stage persona] The Thin White Duke and I become a type of gaga followers. I didn’t know the best way to speak to him anymore.”

Roeg used an all-British crew to shoot the film — “which was very uncommon,” Clark mentioned — and she or he and Bowie spent two months collectively throughout filming. “What I actually appreciated and located actually difficult was the time span within the movie and all of the make-up and home equipment we needed to put on,” she mentioned. “The one one who by no means received previous was David … he stayed without end younger and it was very nice as a result of I’m a fan … simply to see him on the top of his magnificence, unchanged with no home equipment besides when he was [his extraterrestrial self].”

She mentioned that Bowie didn’t appear flustered regardless of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” being his first headlining film function.

“If he was ever nervous he didn’t categorical that,” Clark mentioned. “He was very keen to run strains and we had 1,000,000 strains. He was very keen to rehearse and I attribute that to his coaching and touring and doing the identical songs time and again so it was no large deal for him to run the dialogue. We’d be engaged on [rehearsing] one scene whereas capturing one other scene, and again then it took a very long time to arrange the lights so we had plenty of downtime. So we’d be sitting on the ground operating the subsequent scene over and over and he was actually good about doing that, which was an enormous assist for me.”

Whereas Bowie mentioned later that he was “completely insecure with about 10 grams [of cocaine] a day in me” in the course of the shoot, Clark disputes that notion.

“He was simply taking part in together with his delusion,” she mentioned. “He promised Nick Roeg that he wouldn’t do any medicine. There was by no means a noticeable ‘I gotta go to the toilet’ or hiding behind the furnishings kind of factor — nothing. And he was very targeted.”

Naomie Harris and Chiwetel Ojiofor in a scene from the Showtime version of "The Man Who Fell to Earth." She's pointing at him as they sit at a table with two coffee mugs in front of them.
Naomie Harris and Chiwetel Ejiofor star within the Showtime model of “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” which premiered April 24.
Aimee Spinks/SHOWTIME

Clark and Bowie needed to be in shut bodily contact, because of the nature of the storyline. “It was the ’70s and that was innovative,” she mentioned of their nude scenes. “Now, it’s a dime a dozen. I used to be by no means ‘within the second’ doing these scenes and David wasn’t, both. It was very awkward. These [scenes] are by no means straightforward to do. Though they ‘shut the set’ you’ve nonetheless received the cinematographer and the director there and some different individuals however that’s a number of too many — it’s like ‘eeww.’ You attempt being bare whereas they movie you. Some individuals are exhibitionists however I’m not one in all them. I very a lot cared, however it was the ’70s and that was form of necessary on the time if you happen to wished an appearing job.”

Clark mentioned she and Bowie as soon as bumped into one another on the streets of New York years later and “had espresso collectively,” however there’s one memorable interplay she remembers in vivid element.

“After we shot the movie it was Christmas and I used to be dwelling in my little condo on Vista Avenue [in LA] … and there was a knock on the door,” she mentioned. “I don’t understand how he discovered my deal with however it was David Bowie, and there, behind him, was the [blue] limousine from the film [in which Thomas Newtown was driven around].

“He gave me this little rhinestone pin for Christmas and he didn’t stick round; he form of stayed on the door after which left.

“It was like, ‘Wow!’”

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