When David Bowie was offered the part of alien humanoid Thomas Jerome Newton the planets were clearly in alignment…
“It certainly did fit in with his persona at the time, this asexual being,” the film’s director of photography Tony Richmond tells That Film Thing. “It was a pretty weird time, as he would have seven to eight hours in make-up in those days. He’d start at three o’clock in the morning, lying in a dentist’s chair where they’d go to work on him for hours and hours.”
Based on the novel by Walter Tevis, the movie tells the story of Newton’s rise to build a huge business empire to fund the saving of his drought-affected home planet. Yet his good intentions are thwarted when the pressure of the modern world and loneliness take their toll as he falls prey to drink, temptation and the machinations of business rivals and the government.
Richmond contributes to one of the three new interviews filmed for the 4 April release of the restored film on Blu-ray, alongside the prevously released Nicolas Roeg interview and ‘Watching The Alien’ Making Of documentary.
He’s also happy to set the record straight about a few myths around the movie’s shoot: that it was beset by camera problems and disgruntled locals…
“It’s funny because I read that somewhere about a month ago, but there weren’t any difficulties at all,” Richmond says. “The only thing we kept losing were the zoom controls, that’s all – we had to keep replacing them and it wasn’t even that much of a problem. We didn’t have any camera troubles at all, so I don’t know where that came from!”
The Man Who Fell To Earth is released on Blu-ray in the UK on 4 April 2011 by Optimum Home Entertainment.