Nicolas Roeg, Director of David Bowie's 'The Man Who Fell to Earth,' Dies at 90


The London native, who began out as a cinematographer, additionally guided Mick Jagger in 'Performance' and helmed 'Walkabout,' 'Don't Look Now' and 'Bad Timing.'

Nicolas Roeg, the British cinematographer turned director who employed his visible aptitude on such movies as David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth and the horror masterpiece Don’t Look Now, has died. He was 90. 

Roeg, who additionally known as the pictures for 2 different rock stars, Mick Jagger in Performance (1970) and Art Garfunkel in Bad Timing/A Sensual Obsession (1980), handed away in line with the BBC, citing the filmmaker's household. 

Roeg, identified for the lighting composition, shade imagery, manipulation of time and erotic sensibility in his movies, spent twenty years as a digital camera operator and cinematographer earlier than graduating to director.

He was David Lean’s second-unit director/cameraman on Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago (however was fired from the latter) and served because the DP for Francois Truffaut (on Fahrenheit 451), Richard Lester (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum) and John Schlesinger (Far From the Madding Crowd).

Fiercely impartial, Roeg labored his actors exhausting and prided himself on not being subservient to anybody. When the top of the U.Okay.’s Rank Organisation known as Bad Timing “a sick movie made by sick individuals for sick individuals,” the director refused to have his film proven on the Rank circuit.

Roeg married actress Theresa Russell in 1982, and he or she starred as a Czech intelligence officer who has a tragic affair in Vienna with Garfunkel, as an American psychiatrist, within the X-rated Bad Timing. He additionally directed her in Eureka (1983), the Marilyn Monroe movie Insignificance (1985), Track 29 (1988) and Cold Heaven (1991) earlier than they divorced.

For The Man Who Fell to Earth, Roeg gave Bowie his first huge shot on the films, with the rock star starring because the humanoid alien Thomas Jerome Newton, who crash-lands in New Mexico and turns into a businessman hooked on alcohol, intercourse and tv.

Roeg “has chosen the garish, translucent, androgynous-mannered rock star, David Bowie, for his house customer,” Richard Eder wrote in his New York Times assessment. “The alternative is impressed.”

“David’s efficiency was one thing fairly distinctive,” Roeg stated in a 2013 interview. “He by no means got here on like a rock star -- he used his half to discover concepts of rock idolatry and movie star. David was very intelligent and artistic in that approach.”

A nonetheless from the fashionable movie, with Bowie in orange hair, was used as the duvet of his ethereal 1977 album, Low.

For the Venice-set psychological thriller Don’t Look Now (1973), which starred Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as grief-stricken dad and mom, Roeg used shade correlatives in its story palette. The movie, based mostly on a Daphne du Maurier brief story, additionally featured the actors in a torrid love scene.

Critic Roger Ebert admired the way in which Roeg performed with chronology on this movie in addition to within the crime- and sex-laden Performance and Walkabout (1971), the story of a sister (Jenny Agutter) and brother (performed by Roeg’s son, Luc Roeg) who get misplaced within the Australian outback.

“He doesn’t all the time enter his tales at the start and go away on the finish,” Ebert wrote, “however rummages round in them, as if separated moments can make clear each other.”

He made Walkabout from a script by Edward Bond that was simply 14 handwritten pages.

Nicolas Jack Roeg was born in London on Aug. 15, 1928. He served within the Army, started his film profession by working within the slicing rooms of MGM British Studios and was on cinematographer Freddie Young’s crew for Ivanhoe (1952) and Bhowani Junction (1956).

He made his characteristic debut as a cinematographer in 1960 with Jazz Boat, which starred Anthony Newley, and shot such movies as The Guest (1963), Dr. Crippen (1963), Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and Nothing however the Best (1964), for which he earned popularity of his use of shade.

In 1966, Roeg directed the second unit for the Israel-set Judith, starring Sophia Loren and Peter Finch.

Roeg’s first helming credit score got here with Performance (1970), for which he was credited as co-director with Donald Cammell. Warner Bros. execs hated his model, threatened to sue for not getting what they had been promised and delayed the discharge of the movie for 2 years.

More not too long ago, Roeg directed the 1989 NBC telefilm Sweet Bird of Youth, starring Elizabeth Taylor; a 1993 episode of ABC’s The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles; and the movies Two Deaths (1995) and Puffball: The Devil’s Eyeball (2007).

Before he wed Russell, Noeg was married to English actress Susan Stephen for 20 years.

In a 2005 interview, the decided Roeg recalled a “livid row” he as soon as had with a studio govt.

“He stated, ‘They gained’t get it, Nic,’ and I stated, ‘No, they'll get it; it’s you who’s not getting it, since you’re attempting to pressure one thing that’s completely different into being the identical,’” he stated. “People normally arrive to see one thing with an open thoughts. I need to make them really feel one thing emotionally, however not by planning the way to get them there.”

This article was initially printed by The Hollywood Reporter.