- 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
- 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.
- 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 Gray - a 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.”
- Tina Turner, Tommy, 1974. Tina said the Acid Queen was up between her and Bowie.
- 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.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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!
- Tom Hulce, Amadeus, 1984. The thin white Austrian... Bowie saw himself as “partly enigmatic, partly fossile.”
- Christopher Gable, Doctor Who#135: The Caves of Androzani, TV, 1984.John Nathan-Turner aimed (too) high for the final (and favourite) adventure of Doc5 Peter Davison. For the disfigured hero, Sharaz Jek, the producer wooed Bowie, Tim Curry, Mick Jagger or 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Christopher Walken, A View To A Kill, 1985.
- 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...
- Jack Nicholson, Batman, 1988.
- Ian Glen,Mountains of the Moon,1990. Bob Rafelson’s first choice for explorersBurton and Speke, searching for the River Nile’s source:Mel Gibson and Bowie.
- Harvey Keitel, Thelma & Louise, 1990.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.”
- 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.”
- Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996. Hollywood goes Who. Why? For the pilot of a USeries to exhume the BBC science-fiction cult, buried since since it ran out of puff after 26 seasons in 1989. As if to prove this was big deal Hollywood (!) in action, some 63 actors were listed for Doc8 and a further 71 (well, some were on both lists) for his foe, The Master. Such as James Bond, Dracula, Gandhi, Freddy Krueger, Magnum, Spock versus rock supremos Waits, Bowie, Phil Collins, Chris Isaak, Mick Jagger, Sting.
- James Woods, Hercules, 1996. Many were called - Bowie, Willem Dafoe, Jack Nicholson. Then, John Lithgow got the Disney gig and recorded it all. Next thing he knew, Jimmy Woods had adlibbed the voice of Hades to glory with Robin Williams/Aladdin bravura. And made it a growth industry with various video games.
- 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, tobeing “merely cheerfully cadaverous.”