“The Man Who Fell to Earth,” Showtime’s new assortment starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomi Harris, is predicated on the 1976 film starring David Bowie and Sweet Clark — which made a splash with its onscreen nudity and trippy deal with a humanoid who arrives on Earth in a bid to keep away from losing his planet from extinction.
“It’s kind of about what’s occurring proper now in its depiction of a planet that’s dying from a drought,” Clark, 74, knowledgeable The Publish about director Nicolas Roeg’s film, which was based mostly totally on Walter Nevis’ 1963 sci-fi novel. “It’s positively the highlight of my showing career.”
“The Man Who Fell to Earth” began capturing in New Mexico in July 1975. Clark was coming off her Oscar-nominated operate (as Debbie Dunham) in “American Graffiti”; Bowie, 28, was an iconic rock star (“Space Oddity,” and Ziggy Stardust) and starring in his first big-screen operate — a la Mick Jagger inside the 1970 movie “Effectivity,” moreover directed by Roeg.
Bowie carried out Thomas Newton, who lands on Earth with a plan to earn enough money collectively along with his smart patents to return to his planet and save his partner and kids from certain dying. He encounters waitress Mary-Lou (Clark), who’s unaware of his origins (he says he’s from England; Bowie makes use of his precise British accent) or how he appears beneath his human exterior. They fall in love at first unravels over the next a very long time (it’s tough). Rip Torn, Buck Henry and Bernie Casey co-star.
(Clark moreover performs Newton’s partner inside the ethereal, silent scenes depicting his parched home planet.)
“I used to concentrate on his music nevertheless hadn’t ever seen him in reside efficiency and I’m glad I not at all did on account of I might need been too awestruck all through our scenes,” Clark talked about of Bowie. “He was primarily merely one different actor in entrance of me, nevertheless after we shot the film and it was coming out I observed him [in concert] as [his stage persona] The Skinny White Duke and I used to be a form of gaga followers. I didn’t know strategies to debate to him anymore.”
Roeg used an all-British crew to shoot the movie — “which was very unusual,” Clark talked about — and she or he and Bowie spent two months collectively all through filming. “What I really favored and situated really tough was the time span inside the film and all the make-up and residential gear we would have liked to placed on,” she talked about. “The one one who not at all purchased earlier was David … he stayed with out finish youthful and it was very good on account of I’m a fan … merely to see him on the height of his magnificence, unchanged with no house gear in addition to when he was [his extraterrestrial self].”
She talked about that Bowie didn’t seem flustered no matter “The Man Who Fell to Earth” being his first headlining movie operate.
“If he was ever nervous he didn’t particular that,” Clark talked about. “He was very ready to run traces and we had 1,000,000 traces. He was very ready to rehearse and I attribute that to his teaching and touring and doing the equivalent songs many times so it was no enormous deal for him to run the dialogue. We’d be engaged on [rehearsing] one scene whereas capturing one different scene, and once more then it took a really very long time to rearrange the lights so we had an entire lot of downtime. So we’d be sitting on the bottom working the next scene again and again and he was really good about doing that, which was an unlimited help for me.”
Whereas Bowie talked about later that he was “fully insecure with about 10 grams [of cocaine] a day in me” by the shoot, Clark disputes that notion.
“He was merely participating in collectively along with his delusion,” she talked about. “He promised Nick Roeg that he wouldn’t do any treatment. There was not at all a noticeable ‘I gotta go to the bathroom’ or hiding behind the furnishings type of issue — nothing. And he was very focused.”
Clark and Bowie wanted to be in shut bodily contact, due to the character of the storyline. “It was the ’70s and that was progressive,” she talked about of their nude scenes. “Now, it’s a dime a dozen. I was not at all ‘inside the second’ doing these scenes and David wasn’t, each. It was very awkward. These [scenes] are not at all easy to do. Even if they ‘shut the set’ you’ve nonetheless purchased the cinematographer and the director there and a few totally different of us nevertheless that’s just some too many — it’s like ‘eeww.’ You attempt being naked whereas they film you. Some individuals are exhibitionists nevertheless I’m not one amongst them. I very lots cared, nonetheless it was the ’70s and that was kind of mandatory on the time must you wanted an showing job.”
Clark talked about she and Bowie as quickly as ran into each other on the streets of New York years later and “had espresso collectively,” nevertheless there’s one memorable interaction she remembers in vivid ingredient.
“After we shot the film it was Christmas and I was residing in my little home on Vista Avenue [in LA] … and there was a knock on the door,” she talked about. “I don’t perceive how he found my take care of nonetheless it was David Bowie, and there, behind him, was the [blue] limousine from the movie [in which Thomas Newtown was driven around].
“He gave me this little rhinestone pin for Christmas and he didn’t stick spherical; he kind of stayed on the door after which left.
“It was like, ‘Wow!’”