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David Bowie Was Offered a Role in ‘Atomic Blonde’

Evan Agostini, Getty Images / Focus Features
Evan Agostini, Getty Images / Focus Features

David Bowie‘s music is heard more than once in the Charlize Theron Cold War spy thriller Atomic Blonde — and if director David Leitch had gotten his wish, audiences would have seen Bowie in the movie, too.

As Leitch told The Hollywood Reporter, music was a major part of his concept for the picture as he was putting it together, and songs like the ‘Til Tuesday hit “Voices Carry” and Bowie’s “Putting Out Fire” were early anchors in the playlist he assembled.

“When I read the script, I immediately decided to write down songs that were speaking to me. And after the challenge of how do I make this pop-culture mash-up in more of a commercial/fun way, the first instinct was ‘I want to rely on ’80s music and sort of transport us,'” said Leitch. “Music emotionally and psychologically transports you immediately. So I put together my playlist and I’d play that over and over and we’d play it on set in the scout van, and I started to slowly drop those specific songs into the list as we scouted, into the actual script.”

While “Putting Out Fire” and “Under Pressure,” Bowie’s Queen collaboration, both remained in the soundtrack, Leitch actually wanted Bowie to take a role in the film — specifically its framing sequence, which sees Theron’s character in an interrogation room. While Bowie passed on the opportunity, there were clearly no hard feelings.

“I think he really responded to the script and that it was about this city and there was music and everything. But at that time, he respectfully declined,” Leitch said. “Then during the shooting of the film, we heard of his passing, so it was even more special to us that those songs remained in the movie.”

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