Trivia / The Man Who Fell to Earth

  • Acting for Two: Candy Clark plays both Mary-Lou and the wife Thomas left behind. This isn't obvious because the latter is a Rubber-Forehead Alien who has no dialogue. (She also played Thomas himself in one scene, with a hat pulled over her face, when David Bowie was ill.)
  • Actor Allusion: Oancitizen put it best (to the tune of "Magic Dance"):
    Now, Ziggy Stardust was an alien on Earth
    And he was doomed
    To fall to human vice, and leave his people blue
    Director knew!
    Nicholas Roeg must have known 'bout this
    Banned from space, this is a case
    Of casting your actor... based on his works!
  • Bad Export for You: The original US distributor cut 20 minutes from the film, rendering it even more confusing. They were restored in the 2011 re-release.
  • The Cast Showoff: Amusingly subverted; Newton is a terrible singer!
  • Playing with Character Type: David Bowie started getting film offers almost as soon as he had his commercial breakthrough via his Alter Ego Acting persona of Ziggy Stardust, a flamboyant alien (or Touched by Vorlons) rock musician, Messianic Archetype, and Tragic Hero who succumbs to Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll, ego, and his own fans. But virtually all of the roles he was offered were Ziggy expies. He was drawn to the character of Newton because he wasn't an Expy. Yes, Newton is also an alien Messianic Archetype Tragic Hero...but he's The Stoic, Moe before Moe was trendy, and his succumbing to Earthlings and their vices comes not from success going to his head but because Humanity Is Infectious.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: For The '70s.
  • What Could Have Been
    • Peter O'Toole was originally cast as Newton.
    • The novel was primarily set in Kentucky, but the movie used New Mexico to take advantage of a tax break for British filmmakers (this was the first British-produced film shot entirely in the U.S.). Its deserts also provided a useful backdrop for the scenes set on Newton's home planet.
    • Bowie originally was tapped to write the score and worked on it with Paul Buckmaster. For various reasons, it wasn't used and has never been formally released, though a backwards bass part on Low's "Subterraneans" was taken from what they worked on.