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First photo released of Johnny Flynn as David Bowie in new movie Stardust

Johnny Flynn and David Bowie © Getty

The first photo has been released of Johnny Flynn playing the lead role of David Bowie in new movie Stardust.

Taken by photographer Paul Van Carter, the image depicts Flynn as Bowie in circa 1971 sitting in a café and smoking a cigarette while looking into the camera.

The photo was shared by Salon Pictures, the movie company behind Stardust, who captioned it: 'Exclusive first look at Johnny Flynn as the young David Bowie in our forthcoming movie Stardust, directed by Gabriel Range, with Marc Maron and Jena Malone. #stardustmovie #davidbowie'.

Producers behind the movie have described Stardust as an “origins story” rather than a biopic and it follows a snapshot in time of Bowie’s career in the early 1970s.

A plot synopsis reads: “Meet David before Bowie. One of the greatest icons in music history; But who was the young man behind the many faces? In 1971, a 24-year-old David Bowie (Johnny Flynn) embarks on his first road trip to America with struggling publicist Ron Oberman (Marc Maron), only to be met with a world not yet ready for him.

“Stardust offers a glimpse behind the curtain of the moments that inspired the creation of Bowie's first and most memorable alter ego Ziggy Stardust, capturing the turning point that cemented his career as one of the world's greatest cultural icons.”

The film is helmed by Emmy Award-winning director Gabriel Range, with a script from Christopher Bell, who was behind Netflix historical drama The Last Czars.

When the project was announced in January, David Bowie’s son, film director Duncan Jones, criticised Stardust saying it was being made without the family’s involvement.  

"Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic... I would know," Jones wrote on Twitter

"I’m not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn't know. I'm saying that as it stands, this movie won't have any of Dad's music in it and I can't imagine that changing. If you want to see a biopic without his music or the families blessing, that's up to the audience."

This prompted Salon Pictures to release the following statement: “We would like to clarify that this film is not a biopic. It is a moment in time film at a turning point in David’s life, and is not reliant on Bowie’s music.

“Much like Nowhere Boy for Lennon, Control for Joy Division, the production uses period music and songs that Bowie covered, but not his original tracks.

“The film was written as an ‘origins story’ about the beginning of David’s journey as he invented his Ziggy Stardust character, and focuses on the character study of the artist, as opposed to a hits driven ‘music’ biopic.”

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