For proof of how David Bowie's roiling creativity flowed between music and movies, one doesn't have to look further than his first film, Nicolas Roeg's The Man Who Fell to Earth, from 1976: "He put much more of himself in it than we had been able to get into the script," Roeg said later. "Toward the end I realized a big change had happened in his life."
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Bowie didn't appear on the film's soundtrack, but he used images of himself as the alien Thomas Jerome Newton as covers for his next two albums, Station to Station (1976) and Low (1977). The Starman's gravitational pull couldn't help but warp any film he touched -- sometimes to his advantage, and often not. Many of Bowie's screen performances -- a vampiric stud in The Hunger, the Berlin gigolo of Just a Gigolo -- inflated with theatrical pretense until they popped. The so-1986 musical fantasia Absolute Beginners may be best viewed on a muted TV above the bar, but his throwback soft-shoe number is a delight for any fan who has ever wanted to see Bowie tap-dance in the sky. Likewise, his lascivious, coke-addled mugging as the Goblin King in Jim Henson's Labyrinth was almost hyperactively perverse: "A spoiled child, vain and temperamental," said Bowie, "kind of like a rock'n'roll star."