USA-FF Q&A: A Brief Convo With Candy Clark On ‘THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH’ & David Bowie


man-who-fell-to-earth-1976-001-candy-clark-david-bowie-backseat-00m-pjjPreston Barta // Features Editor

In 1976, there was a film starring rock legend David Bowie and AMERICAN GRAFFITI‘s Candy Clark titled THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. The daring exploration of science fiction followed the story of an alien (Bowie) on an elaborate rescue mission to collect water from Earth to save his dying planet.

After arriving to earth he starts a high tech company to raise the money he needs to build a spacecraft back home. However, he meets a woman named Mary-Lou (Clark) who quickly falls in love with him, which complicates his mission.

If you’ve never seen THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, we highly recommend watching it. It’s a bizarre film from the bizarre (director Nicolas Roeg and screenwriter Paul Mayersberg). It’s an imaginative, vibrant, different, and ambitious film that sticks with you and leaves you with much to discuss.

We had the honor of speaking with Candy Clark before the USA Film Festival‘s special screening of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. We briefly discussed the last time she spoke with the Thin White Duke, watching her own film with audiences, impactful modern films, and dumpster diving.

The Wrap film critic Alonso Duralde and Candy Clark at the 45th Annual USA Film Festival on Friday, April 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Lisa Stewart Photography.

The Wrap film critic Alonso Duralde and Candy Clark at the 45th Annual USA Film Festival on Friday, April 24, 2015. Photo courtesy of Lisa Stewart Photography.

When’s the last time you’ve been in Dallas?

Candy Clark: “Since I came to the USA Film Festival back in the ’80s. I think it was for BLUE THUNDER (1983).”

Oh, wow. So it’s been quite a while then.

Clark: “Oh, yeah. BLUE THUNDER was some time ago.”

Excited to be back, I’m sure?

Clark: “Yeah! And I’m really excited to be at the film festival to show THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, which is a classic film with David Bowie. So I’m really excited to talk about that and see it again on the big screen. It’s been a while.”

When’s the last time you talked to David Bowie?

Clark: “Gosh. Probably around the time we did the film.”

That’s crazy!

Clark: “I did run into him once after that, though. I was doing a play in New York called A COUPLA WHITE CHICKS SITTING AROUND TALKING, and I ran into him at a restaurant there. There he was, and he was real friendly and happy to see me. But, we really lost contact.”

Is that weird when something like that happens? When you don’t really talk to the people anymore after working on such a project as THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH?

Clark: “It is. But, it happens. You each got your own paths to follow and other projects to do.”

When you first worked with him, were you at all intimated by him?

Clark: “I probably would have been if I had seen him in concert beforehand. But, he would help me out on set all the time. He’d help me run lines, because I don’t really have the best memory– photographic memory. A lot of actors are bothered by running lines too much, but it never really bothered him. He was great to work with.”

Are you someone who can watch their own work?

Clark: “Yeah! Oh, yeah!”

You love to watch it with audiences?

Clark: “It’s not hard. A lot of my work has been character work, so it’s like looking at someone else anyway. So, it’s not really like looking at yourself in anyway.”

Interesting. Yeah, I know there are a lot of people out there who can’t. Johnny Depp being one.

Clark: “It really has never been a problem for me. I’m not too critical.”

David Bowie, Candy Clark and Tony Mascia in THE MAN WHO FELL FROM EARTH. Photo courtesy of Cinema 5 Distributing.

David Bowie, Candy Clark and Tony Mascia in THE MAN WHO FELL FROM EARTH. Photo courtesy of Cinema 5 Distributing.

I would say THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH, AMERICAN GRAFFITI, and some of the other films you’ve been a part of, they’ve been so iconic and inspiring for so many people out there. What are so modern film that you think are going to inspire the next generation of filmmakers?

Clark: “Oh, what do I think of them? I think they’re good. I like films. I’m a member of the Academy, so I get a lot of the films to watch a home when they want us to vote. So I see a lot of them in the fall through the winter.”

Any of them lately that have stuck out to you?

Clark: “I really liked LEVIATHAN. That was great! I think it was a Russian film.”

Yes. Yes, it was. Great film.

Clark: “You saw it?”

Oh, yeah.

Clark: “It had some of the best– either those actors were really, really drunk or they’re really good actors. I mean, that had some of the best drunk scenes that I’ve ever seen!”

[Laughs] I completely agree.

Clark: “It was about eminent domain– the taking of someone’s property just because they want to build something there because of, you know, the government. It’s a good film. I liked it.”

Lastly, if you could teach a college course of your creation, what would you teach?

Clark: “Of my creation?”

Yes, ma’am.

Clark: “I would say gardening, probably, and reading. These are my interests. Antiquing, dumpster diving [Laughs].”

I haven’t got an answer with dumpster diving before. That’s awesome and different.

Clark: [Laughs] “Those are my interests. Antiquing, estate sales, garage sales, gardening and chicken raising. I have three chickens. I’m a farmer, really.”

I never would have guessed. My younger brother is into all those kind of things. I’m not so much, really.

Clark: “You will be. One day you’ll be like, ‘I would like to dig in the dirt again. I would like to grow things.'”

Oh, I don’t doubt that. That would be a lot of fun. Well, appreciate your time. You have a good evening and enjoy Dallas, rain and all.

Clark: “Alright, honey. Thank you!”

THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH is available to purchase now.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.