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HBO to Broadcast ‘David Bowie: The Last Five Years’ Documentary

Jo Hale, Getty Images
Jo Hale, Getty Images

Last month, a documentary called David Bowie: The Last Five Years premiered on BBC2. Today, HBO announced that they’ve acquired the U.S. television rights to the film, and will broadcast it at an unknown date.

“Looking at Bowie’s extraordinary creativity during the last five years of his life has allowed me to reexamine his life’s work and move beyond the simplistic view that his career was simply predicated on change,” director Francis Whately said in a press release. “HBO, whose global output the world admires, is a great channel to get this incredible documentary out to the U.S. fans.”

The film looks at the three projects with which Bowie was involved in the final years of his life: 2013’s The Next Day, last year’s Grammy-winning Blackstar and the Lazarus off-Broadway musical. It includes interviews with actors and musicians who worked with him on those endeavors, longtime co-producer Tony Visconti, graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook and others.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years gained headlines prior to its BBC premiere on Jan. 7 — the day before what would have been his 70th birthday — as it revealed that Bowie did not learn that the cancer that claimed his life was terminal until after the sessions for Blackstar had been completed. Coincidentally, when he learned the news, Bowie was filming the video for “Lazarus,” whose morbid imagery and opening line of “Look up here, I’m in heaven” led many to believe that he knew he was dying when he wrote the song.

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