That Time David Bowie, Powered By 10 Grams Of Coke, Played An Alien
Chiwetel Ejiofor fans (Ejiofans) have some pretty trippy months up ahead. On top of reprising Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Ejiofor is starring in Showtime's The Man Who Fell to Earth, a sequel to the 1976 sci-fi movie of the same name. The show also features English actor Bill Nighy playing an older version of David Bowie's bizarre alien character from the film. What's interesting is that Bowie didn't really play that character: he says he was just being himself. On tremendous amounts of cocaine.
Much of Bowie's role in the movie consisted of stuff like yelling at TVs (back when looking at multiple monitors at the same time was considered a sign of superhuman intelligence and not just ADHD) ...
Or freaking out upon encountering elevators ...
Or just wandering around like a weirdo.
Apparently, that was all just part of Bowie's daily routine back then. When asked about the movie by Rolling Stone a few years later, he confessed: "I'm so pleased I made that, but I didn't really know what was being made at all." He later added that his "one snapshot memory of that film is not having to act" because he "wasn't of this earth at that particular time." Of course, that had less to do with his unusual personality and more with the fact that he was more cocaine than man at that point in his life. He said he was doing about 10 grams of coke a day and was "stoned out of (his) mind from beginning to end."
The film's director knew exactly what he was getting himself into, though: the whole reason he cast Bowie was that he happened to see him in a documentary that showed him in the middle of his coke-fueled paranoia. At one point, Bowie was convinced he was being haunted by Satan, powerful warlock Jimmy Page, and some witches who were after his jizz. It was around this time that he gave an interview while going through a strong allergic reaction to something in the studio, judging from the amount of sniffing he was doing.
Bowie described the film as "a good exhibition -- of someone literally falling apart in front of you." On the other hand, it seems that he was so stoned that he completely forgot he was perfectly "focused, friendly, and professional" with everyone in the cast and crew, according to his co-star, who was under the impression that he was off drugs throughout the shoot. Dude got so high that he circled back around to sober and then blacked out on his soberness.
The Man Who Fell to Earth was the start of an auspicious film career that eventually led Bowie to the ultimate honor: dancing with Muppets. So good luck to Bill Nighy on following up that historic performance, and we can't wait to see if the show will feature the return of the character's ultimate nemesis: cookies.
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Top image: British Lion Films