'Before there was Star Wars ... before there was Close Encounters ... there was The Man Who Fell To Earth.' - advertising tag line for 1981 reissue of the film.
Earthbound is the first book-length exploration of a true classic of twentieth-century science-fiction cinema, shot under the heavy, ethereal skies of New Mexico by the legendary British director Nicolas Roeg and starring David Bowie in a role he seemed born for as an extraterrestrial named Thomas Newton who comes to Earth in search of water. Based on a novel by the highly regarded American writer Walter Tevis, this dreamy, distressing, and visionary film resonates even more strongly in the twenty-first century than it did on its original release during the year of the US Bicentennial.
Drawing on extensive research and exclusive first-hand interviews with members of the cast and crew, Earthbound begins with a look at Tevis's 1963 novel before moving into a detailed analysis of a film described by its director as 'a sci-fi film without a lot of sci-fi tools' and starring a group of actors - Bowie, Buck Henry, Candy Clark, Rip Torn - later described by one of them (Henry) as 'not a cast but a dinner party.' It also seeks to uncover the mysteries surrounding Bowie's rejected soundtrack to the film (elements of which later ended up his groundbreaking 1977 album Low) and closes with a look at his return to the themes and characters of The Man Who Fell To Earth in one of his final works, the acclaimed musical production Lazarus.