The films that had us all believing the strangest things, and loving the alien?
Following the legendary David Bowie?s tragic, unexpected passing this week, there?s been tribute after tribute, in print and online: about his incredible music, about his influence on popular culture, about the effect he?s had on so many of us, and the huge, impossible space he leaves behind.
One thing that hasn?t been getting so much love is his creative output as an actor. There?s a negative association with rock stars and acting that?s been going on for decades, ever since the unholy trinity of Sting, Madonna and Prince assaulted the silver screen with their vanity projects and failed attempts at Hollywood stardom, and kickstarted the kvetching from an avalanche of critics.
Bowie?s always been a little different, though. You could legitimately use that phrase about anything Bowie-related, but his acting choices in particular have often fallen victim to accusations that he indulged in eccentricity for its own sake. Let?s clear this up now: yes, Bowie?s defining attribute as an actor is his weirdness, but that?s not your mate in the pub?s version of the word ? meaning anyone who wears a scarf indoors and/or drinks halves.
Bowie?s screen personae meshed seamlessly with his stage personae. He projected an exotic aura, unearthly, uncanny, adapting that alien aspect to whatever project engaged his interest at the time? and of course, the eerie effect of those eyes didn?t hurt.
Bowie would play the perennial outsider, a man on a different plane, sometimes androgynous or fey, other times otherworldly and distant. He?d come across better in some roles than others, but that?s a description that holds true for the majority of working actors. If Hollywood is a menagerie, Bowie?s always been a breed apart: a cryptozoological curiosity, the only one of his kind.