David Bowie


  1. Mark Wynter, The Haunted House of Horror, 1969.      The role of  Gary was quite Ziggy in Michael Armstrong’s first psychedelic scenario. While Wynter was as straight as  Pat Boone
  2. Murray Head, Sunday Bloody Sunday, 1970.   His new US  manager, with the very UK name of Ken Pitt,  said the name David Jones  must changed because of the Monkee Davy Jones. Pitt then  got him a bit role and a  short-back-and-sides haircut (but no credit) in The Virgin Soldiers, 1969. Looking for a classier, VIProject, Pitt talked to John Schlesinger about Bowie playing Peter Finch’s gay lover.  The director preferred a (slightly) more experienced actor… who then became, suprise, surprise, a  pop singer.
  3. Paul Williams, Phantom of the Paradise, 1973.   First thought for Swan, the manipulative rock icon was, naturally, Jagger. (Performance II!). Bowie came next. This was, after all, The Phantom of the Opera, Faust and The Picture of Dorian Graya la glam rock.   By comparison, the elfin Williams looked like some kiddy star in adult clothing.  Yet surprisingly good. Director Brian De Palma’s art v commerce opus began perculating in 1969 when shocked to hear The Beatles’ A Day In The Life as Musak in a lift. “It was an era when people were letting young directors make all kind of films,” he said. “For a while.”
  4. Tina  Turner,  Tommy,  1974.      Tina said the Acid Queen was up between Tina and Bowie.
  5. Len Cariou, The Blue Bird, 1974.      Elizabeth Taylor gave him a script “and asked me to be  her leading man, but it was awful. But at least she  invited  me to a party and that’s where I first met John Lennon.”Instead of Liz in Moscow, he chose Dietrich  in Berlin – except they never met on Just A Gigolo as she shot her scene in Paris.
  6. David Carradine, The Serpent’s Egg, 1977.  For his first American-backed, and totally English-speaking film (there had been some Swedish in The Touch, 1970,with Elliott Gould), Swedish genius Ingmar Bergman had some strange notions for circus performer Abel Rosenberg.  Bowie, Richard Harris, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford (!) and  two top TV names: Carradine and Peter Falk  Far from the finest Bergman (too far from his roots), but Harris and Hoffman later regretted passing… Worse, it was and inexplicable second consecutive rejection of Bergman by Hoffman!.
  7. Mathieu Carriere, Egon Schiele – Exzesse/Egon Schiele: Excess and Punishment, West Germany, 1979. Stanley Donen first saw Jane Birkin as the perfect Wally, the  painter’s muse  and mentor.  Germany  Bernard Vessely agreed –  with Bowie as Schiele. “Mathieu was better,”  felt Birkin.  “A  more  authentic  German.”
  8. Robert Powell, Harlequin, Australia, 1980.      Everett de Roche and Simon Wincer wrote it for him and pal David Hemmings did some liaison work between Bowie and producer Anthony I Ginnane. “In the end,” admits Wincer, “we got cold feet.”
  9. Sting, Brimstone & Treacle, 1982.      Sting’s first major role after Bowie and Malcolm McDowell refused Dennis Potter’s controversial reverse take on Pasolini’s Teorema, 1968 – rapist and con-men Taylor being more devil than God in the Bates household. Michael Kitchen was Taylor in the BBC Play for Today series,  banned in 1976 (due to the rape scene) for eleven years!
  10. Tom Hulce, Amadeus, 1984.      The thin white Austrian…   Bowie saw himself as “partly enigmatic, partly fossile.”

  11.  Christopher Gable, Doctor Who #135: The Caves of Androzani, TV, 1984. Infamous producer John Nathan-Turner aimed (too) high for the final (and favourite) adventure of Doc5 Peter Davison. For the disfigured hero, Sharaz Jek, JNT sent out mixed signals… Rock idols like Bowie (away on his Serious Moonlight tour), , Roger Daltrey, Mick Jagger and the rockerish Tim Curry – or actorsPatrick Allen, Nicholas  Ball,  Steven Berkoff, Brian Cox, Christopher Gable, Michael Gambon, Julian Glover, John Hurt  Derek Jacobi,  Martin Jarvis, Michael Jayston, Oliver Tobias. Rather than be in it, they all preferred to just see the regeneration into Doc6 Colin Baker – the least popular of all the Time Lords. Gable, the ballet-dancer made a movie star by director Ken Russell, had previously been chosen for Major Salateen.
  12. Rutger Hauer, The Hitcher, 1985.    Before the Dutch star was chosen, the titular serial killer was described in the script(s) as “skeletal” in nature – suggesting David Bowie, Sam Shepard, Terence Stamp, Harry Dean Stanton and Sting.
  13. Francis Huster, Parking, France, 1985.      For his Orphée re-mould, realisateur Jacques Demy needed a Jim Morrisonesque idol.“Bowie was nowhere to be found, Johnny Hallyday refused and I was abandoning the project whena producersuggestedactorFrancisHuster” – alias “this way to the exit,”said critic Gérard Lefort. A catastrophe, admitted Demy, whovowed nevertomake another movie. He found time for one morebefore his 1990 death: Trois places pour le 26.Another disaster.
  14. Eric Idle, Faerie Tale Theatre: The Pied Piper of Hamelin, TV, 1985. Bowie was first choice for the titular piper (and poet Robert Browning) in the latest Hollywood tele-takes upon  fairy tale classics, hosted and exec-produced by Shelley Duvall (who later played Rapunzel).  She had the idea fort the series while shooting Popeye and asked co-star  Robin Wlliams for his view of The Frog Prince. That proved  positive – he starred in that  as the  first epsiode (directed by Idle).  Mick Jagger was a Chinese emperor in The Nightingale, and directors of the 27 shows included Tim Burton, Francis Coppola and Roger Vadim.
  15. Christopher Walken, A View To A Kill, 1985.
  16. Michael Caine,Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,1988.      Scenarist Dale Launder got a call from Bowie, searching for a movie with Mick Jagger – fans of his Ruthless People. Launder suggested re-making Brando/Niven’s Bedtime Story, 1964.Universal would not free the rights…
  17. Jack Nicholson, Batman, 1988.
  18. Ian Glen,Mountains of the Moon,1990.     Bob Rafelson’s first choice for explorers Burton and Speke, searching for the River Nile’s source:Mel Gibson and Bowie.
  19. Harvey Keitel, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
  20. Dustin Hoffma, Hook, 1990.     The ‘”instant star – just add water” passed on Captain James Hook. (Another rocker, Phil Collins, wasthe main inspector looking for Peter Pan’s kidnapped children). Hoffman said hisHook was inspired by William Buckley Jr, Ronald Colman, James Mason and even Terry-Thomas.

  21. Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,  1991.      Kyle was less than ecstatic  about reprising his extrasensory FBI Agent  Dale Cooper in a film. (He was right, the movie sucked).  Director David Lynch called up Bowie. Kyle returned to heel. Bowie became a phantom G-man. (Also cast was another singer, Chris Isaak).
  22. Aidan Quinn, At Play in the Fields of the Lord, 1992.     And a good actor? “I took you in, didn’t I? I rest my make-up case.”
  23. Jamey Sheridan, The Stand, TV, 1993.    Bowie, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Lance Henriksen, Christopher Walken, James Woods – they were all unavailable for Stephen King’s signature villain in at least nine books: the walkin’ dude Randall Flagg, aka The Man in Black, aka Marten Broadcloak, the Covenant Man, Richard Fannin, Richard Farris, Raymond Fiegler, Walter o’Dim, Waltert Paddick.  Miguel Ferrer was keen but given Flagg’s henchman, Lloyd Henreid,  King suggested Robert Duvall but fell for Sheridan, who understood  ‘Flagg is really a funny guy, isn’t he?’ He must have bothered to read the book… “There was a dark hilarity in his face… a face that radiated a horrible handsome warmth, a face to make water glasses shatter… to make small children crash their trikes… guaranteed to make barroom arguments over batting averages turn bloody.” Sheridan was perfect for the 41st of King’s staggering 313 screen credits. Ed Harris had a cameo he became (another) Man in Black in TV’s Westworld, 2016-2021, opposite James Marsden, who was the 2019 Stu Redman in the nine-parter re-make. (King Kameo: Teddy Weizak).
  24. Richard Bohringer, Tykho Moon, France, 1996.      Comic-strip author Enki Bilal’s dream wish for his second movie collapsed due a new concert tour.      Among  film that never happened, Bowie never made  were a Sinatra bio (!) called  Singing in the Rain (!), a re-hash of La Cage aux Folles (with Mick Jagger) and being a robot in On The Road To Marswith Marty Feldman –  “and you’d never believe how many Ziggy Stardust scripts I received in ten years.”
  25. Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.    
  26. Bruce Payne, Highlander IV – Endgame, 1999.    Aka: Highlander: World Without End.  After the so-so series, Christophe(r) Lambert came back with the tele-Immortal Adrian Paul (as Connor and Dunan MacLeod) to tackle the horribly evil Jacob Kell who had 666 kills to his name. (Number remind you of anything… anyone?). Before Surrey’s Payne was selected, candidates included Bowie and Billy Idol from the music world and Jean-Claude Van Damme from the world of schlock.
  27. James Woods, Hercules, 1996.      The directors had no idea who should voice Hades.  “Why don’t you ask Jack?”suggested their Philoctetes, Danny De Vito. Jack was keen. For his normal fee – between $10m and $15m. Disney offered… $500,000.  Hence talks began with David Bowie, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe, Phil Hartman, Michael Ironside,  Michael Keaton, Martin Landau, Broadway’s Terrence Mann, Ron Silver, Kevin Spacey, and Rod Steiger. Then, John Lithgow got the gig and recorded it all. Next thing he knew, Jimmy Woods was adlibbing Hades to glory with Robin Williams/Aladdin bravura.  And made it a growth industry with the TV series and  various video games.
  28. Hugo Weaving, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.
  29. Billy Nighy, Underworld, 2003.       Director Len Wiseman got Bowie interested but schedules never meshed. Nighy became Vikor, awakened prematurely from a sleep of centuries, transforming “from a terminal case of psoriasis,” noted Chicago critic Roger Ebert, to being “merely cheerfully cadaverous.”
  30. Jared Leto, Blade Runner 2049, 2016.   As the unnecessary sequel finally opened, Canadian director Denis Villeneuve revealed his initial choice for the villainous Niander Wallace had been Bowie – “who had influenced Blade Runner in many ways. When we learned the sad news, we looked around for someone like that.” Hence, the Suicide Squad’s Joker and recent Oscar-winner going full Method by wearing “blind” contact lenses as the “manipulative replicant manufacturer.”
  31. Toby Jones, Atomic Blond,2016.    The soundtrack has two Bowie songs. But director David Leitch wanted the man, himself, as the MI6 agent interrogating the plot’s female 007, a terrific Charlize Theron. “He respectfully declined,” Leitch told The Hollywood Reporter. “Then during the shooting… we heard of his passing, so it was even more special to us that those songs remained.”They were Cat People (Putting Out Fire), and his collaboration with Queen, Under Pressure.  In the same year, Bowie’s I’m Afraid of Americans, was the theme of another espionage package, TV’s Berlin Station.






 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Usual occupation: SingerCasting Calls:  31