In the week since David Bowie passed away from liver cancer at age 69, tributes from peers, critics, collaborators and admirers have poured in from across the world on all corners of the Internet. The latest tribute comes from Christopher Nolan, who published a short post on Entertainment Weekly’s website earlier today honoring the late musician and actor who provided so much gravitas to Nolan’s 2008 psychological drama “The Prestige.”
“When we were casting ‘The Prestige,’ we had gotten very stuck on the character of Nikola Tesla,” the director writes. “Tesla was this otherworldly, ahead-of-his-time figure, and at some point it occurred to me he was the original Man Who Fell to Earth. As someone who was the biggest Bowie fan in the world, once I made that connection, he seemed to be the only actor capable of playing the part. He had that requisite iconic status, and he was a figure as mysterious as Tesla needed to be.”
“It took me a while to convince him, though — he turned down the part the first time,” Nolan continues. “It was the only time I can ever remember trying again with an actor who passed on me. I petitioned to let me explain why he was the right actor for it. In total honesty, I told him if he didn’t agree to do the part, I had no idea where I would go from there. I would say I begged him.”
Fortunately for audiences across the world, Bowie ended up taking the part, which would prove to be one of his most unexpected and greatest performances ever. In a piece entitled “The Magical David Bowie Performance Nobody Appreciates Nearly Enough,” written for Indiewire soon after Bowie’s passing, Scott Beggs writes, “Playing a magician one last time, [Bowie] appears on screen as both dignified and inhuman, breathing in a rarified air that’s been splashed with electricity.”
For more of Nolan’s thoughts on collaborating with Bowie, head over to Entertainment Weekly.