David Bowie’s Son on His Dad’s Biopic: ‘Nobody has been granted any music rights for ANY biopic… I would know’

David Bowie
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David Bowie
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photo: Adam Bielawski CC 2.0

An upcoming biopic about David Bowie and his life has drawn criticism from his son.  And just maybe, show-stopping criticism.

The biopic is called Stardust, and it’s scheduled to start production this June.  Gabriel Range will be the film’s director.

Duncan Jones tweeted a comment to the announcement of the biopic, saying no one has been granted “any music rights for ANY biopic… I would know.”

He went on, “If you want to see a biopic without his music or the family’s blessing, that’s up to the audience.”

Along with the announcement of Stardust, Jonny Flynn was cast to play young Bowie.

Jena Malone will star as Bowie’s young wife, Angie. Comedian Marc Maron is on board to play a record company publicist.

The biopic will document David Bowie’s first visit to America as a young man in 1971.  Bowie was inspired to create his Ziggy Stardust character and the subsequent 1972 album, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Bowie’s son says that nobody in his family has been consulted for the film. He said he “can’t imagine that changing.”  No music from David Bowie will be appearing in any unauthorized documentary as a result, according to Jones.

But do Jones and the Bowie clan control the rights?  It’s hard to imagine a major film moving forward without licensing sign-offs, and Jones’ tweets may amount to bluster.

Later on, Jones tweeted that Neil Gaiman would have permission to pen a biopic of his father’s life.  He also encouraged his family to give any pitch from director Peter Ramsey serious consideration as a tribute to his father.

Jones suggested an animated film directed by Ramsey and starring his father’s characters when asked what sort of project he would like to see in tribute to Bowie’s life.

Ramsey responded to the controversy online saying he supports Jones’ opinion, adding that he is “a huge David Bowie fan.”

David Bowie passed away in January 2016 after a battle with liver cancer. He died two days after the release of his final album, Blackstar.