FILM 1527: THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH
TRIVIA: Costume designer May Routh has said that David Bowie was so thin that some of his the outfits he was fitted with were boys' clothes.
Between takes and when not filming, lead actor David Bowie composed songs; sketched drawings; wrote short stories; planned an autobiography to be titled "The Return of the Thin White Duke"; filmed on a 16mm newsreel camera that director Nicolas Roeg had given him; and read books, such as a biography of silent film comedian Buster Keaton. This was in preparation for a then being developed biopic of Keaton whom Bowie was to play.
Candy Clark also played the wife on the other planet.
David Bowie said of this film in Kurt Loder's article "Straight Time" published in the 12th May 1983 edition of 'Rolling Stone' magazine: "I'm so pleased I made that [movie], but I didn't really know what was being made at all". Further, in the article "Bowie at the Bijou" published in the April 1982 edition of 'Movieline' magazine, Bowie said: "I just threw my real self into that movie as I was at that time. It was the first thing I'd ever done. I was virtually ignorant of the established procedure [of making movies], so I was going a lot on instinct, and my instinct was pretty dissipated. I just learned the lines for that day and did them the way I was feeling. It wasn't that far off. I actually was feeling as alienated as that character was. It was a pretty natural performance. ... a good exhibition of somebody literally falling apart in front of you. I was totally insecure with about 10 grams [of cocaine] a day in me. I was stoned out of my mind from beginning to end". Moreover, in the same article, Bowie said of his relationship with director Nicolas Roeg: " . . . we got on rather well. I think I was fulfilling what he needed from me for that role. I wasn't disrupting . . . I wasn't disrupted. In fact, I was very eager to please. And amazingly enough, I was able to carry out everything I was asked to do. I was quite willing to stay up as long as anybody".
Toward the end of the film, in the record store, Bryce walks past a display for David Bowie's "Young Americans" album.
One of a number of films that director Nicolas Roeg made with a lead star from the music business. The movies include Performance (1970) [Mick Jagger], Bad Timing (1980) [Art Garfunkel] and The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976) [David Bowie].
The production had to deal with a boisterous "Hells' Angels" motorcycle gang who were camping nearby to the shoot whilst filming a scene at an old Aztec burial ground in the New Mexico desert.
Apparently, David Bowie was unable to work on the movie for two days because he had drunk some "bad milk". Bowie saw "some gold liquid swimming around in shiny swirls inside the glass". According to the 'Bowie Golden Years' website, Bowie is "still to this day unsure of what actually happened. No trace of any foreign element was detected in tests though there were six witnesses who said they had seen the strange matter in the bottom of the glass. Already in an extremely fragile state, Bowie felt the whole location had 'very bad Karma'".
David Bowie worked on a soundtrack for the film that was rejected. Many of the ideas he had for the soundtrack would later be utilized in his 1977 album 'Low'.
Nicolas Roeg originally wanted to cast the 6-foot-10 author Michael Crichton as Thomas Jerome Newton.