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    “The Only Time I’d Ever Gone Back At Someone Who Said No”: Christopher Nolan Had To “Beg” David Bowie To Star In His Film ‘The Prestige’

    There are very few people Christopher Nolan would have to “beg” to star in his films; and as the director revealed in an interview, David Bowie was one of them. Bowie, who shined in Nolan’s film ‘The Prestige‘ in a cameo had initially turned down the role.

    The ‘Oppenheimer‘ director talked about how he went out of his way to make sure Bowie accepted the role. Here’s how he convinced the musician to star in the film and how he broke a very important tule he had set for himself.

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    David Bowie Initially Declined Christopher Nolan’s Film

    Christopher Nolan and David Bowie
    Christopher Nolan and David Bowie

    David Bowie, who acted in ‘Prestige‘ with Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, played a fictitious version of the real-life inventor Nikola Tesla in one of his rare cinematic roles. However, as Nolan revealed, Bowie first declined Nolan’s offer to play the part. Later, the director showed up at Bowie’s door and persuaded him—something the director had never done for anyone else.

    Nolan talked about how David Bowie was the only person who he had in mind to play Nikola Tesla throughout the filming of ‘The Prestige’. A chief reason was, the acclaimed director wanted someone out of the acting industry.

    In his book, ‘The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan‘, Nolan writes, “When I tried to cast him, he said no at first, and I knew his agent, so I called him up and said, ‘Look, I never do this, but I want to ask him again. I want to go and try and convince him. Is there any way to do that?’ He agreed to meet me, and I flew to New York and I met him, and, thankfully, managed to convince him.”

    He further adds, “It’s the only time I’ve ever gone back at somebody who said no, because generally they’ve got their reasons and you don’t really want to convince somebody and then have conflict on-set, but there was just no one who could play the part in the way that he would with the same resonances.”

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    David Bowie’s Role In ‘The Prestige’

    David Bowie in 'Prestige'
    David Bowie in ‘Prestige’

    Despite his role being a small cameo in the film as compared to the other roles, David Bowie shined in the film and earned praises from viewers and and his co-stars and crew alike.

    Talking of Bowie’s performance, Nolan also wrote in his book, “Bowie’s the one exception, the only one who was just as elusive at the end of working with him as he was at the start. The whole crew, everyone, was fascinated by the guy. He was being perfectly friendly, I mean a very lovely guy, but he just carries this weight of everything he has achieved.”

    In addition to ‘The Prestige,’ Bowie has also starred as Andy Warhol in ‘Basquiat‘, Phillip Jeffries in ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me‘, and Jareth the Goblin King in ‘Labyrinth‘.

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    Nibir Konwar
    Nibir Konwar
    Nibir is nineteen, an autumn lover, and a poetry enthusiast. She loves Taylor Swift, Jeff Buckley, Sally Rooney and everything that's blue. She has had one year of experience as a content writer at First Curiosity and writes poetry and researches on literary criticism in her free time. Nibir is also an ardent reader and a fierce feminist. She aspires to author books someday and be an advocate for mental health.


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