Towards the end of his life, David Bowie produced two groundbreaking albums and a musical. While many documentaries would look at an artist from the very start, the HBO documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years, took inspiration from Bowie reinventing his career towards his last few years and made it the focus.
This isn’t to say that director Francis Whately entirely ignored Bowie’s early life. In fact, the piece is intended to be a follow-up to his previous 2013 documentary, David Bowie: Five Years, reflecting the artist’s life during the 1970’s and early 1980’s.
As mentioned, three major projects are the focus this time around: Bowie’s last two albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, and the musical, Lazarus, inspired by the 1976 film The Man Who Fell to Earth, in which Bowie appeared in.
Viewers can also expect to see excerpts from Bowie hits like “Fame,” “Rebel Rebel,” “‘Heroes’” and “Space Oddity,” as well as music and studio performances from the final projects.
In an interview with Variety, Whately described the inspiration for the project, realizing that Bowie’s last years often got ignored by the mainstream:
“When David passed away, the BBC showed the full 90-minute version of [“Five Years”] — which I gather has been seen by 100 million people, which is incredible — and they asked if we could do something new. At first I thought, ‘I don’t know whether there’s anything new to be done,’ but then I thought the last five years of his life were fairly fascinating and I didn’t think anyone else would approach that. The BBC gave me carte blanche, really, to make the film I wanted to make — but yes, it was tricky.”
With Whately serving as director, Phil Dolling serves as executive producer and Ged Murphy serves as the film editor on the project.
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HBO Now is a $15 stand-alone service that allows users to watch HBO programs on Apple devices, like iPad, iPod, iPhone or Apple TV, but it can also be used on web browsers. Alternatively, Sling TV can also let you watch it online through a $20 a month payment program.