Velvet Goldmine (1998) Poster


Much of the dialog comes from Oscar Wilde's writings.
When Christian Bale and Ewan McGregor were filming their sex scene, the director cut without letting them know, so the two continued to simulate the act until they realized the trick that had been played on them.
Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Ewan McGregor sang their own songs in the movie. (Some of Rhys Meyers's songs were overdubbed by Radiohead lead singer Thom Yorke.)
The film was originally supposed to feature some of David Bowie's music, hence the title, which was a Bowie song from the 1970s; however, when Bowie learned that the script for the film was partially based on the unauthorized biographies "Stardust: The David Bowie Story" written by Henry Edwards and Tony Zanetta and "Backstage Passes" written by Bowie's ex-wife Angie Bowie, he threatened the producers with a lawsuit. Bowie's songs were, therefore, not used, and the script was partially re-written to avoid unnecessary resemblance between Bowie and the Bowie-style character Brian Slade.
Courtney Love considered supplying music to the film's soundtrack; however, she withdrew after viewing a rough cut, claiming that the character of Curt Wild too closely resembled her late husband Kurt Cobain, both in character and physicality. The Wild/Cobain parallel later became a much-discussed point among critics, and while director Todd Haynes and actor Ewan McGregor have noted similarities between Cobain and Wild, both claim the resemblance was unintended. Haynes, for his part, notes that Cobain borrowed many style traits from Iggy Pop, who served as partial basis for the Wild character.
During the Festival sequence where Brian sees Curt perform for the first time, Ewan McGregor was only due to moon the disgruntled crowd. But inspired by the antics of Iggy Pop, he improvised, and ended up gesticulating wildly while flashing the audience, leaping about with his trousers around his ankles.
The Curt Wild character is mainly inspired by David Bowie's relationship with two American 1960's underground rockers whose careers Bowie resurrected, Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Iggy Pop hailed from Michigan and shared Wild's long blond locks, while Reed underwent shock therapy for bisexuality as a teen and was rumored to have had an affair with Bowie before their falling out after Bowie produced Reed's album Transformer. Much central to the film is fictionalized, such as the mythical, mysterious, decade-long disappearance of "Slade", although he reincarnated himself as Tommy Stone, a blonde with a white suit (the 'thin white duke'). Bowie wasn't as huge of a star as Slade is depicted here and never withdrew for so long from the public-eye as did the film's character.
The name of Brian Slade's rock persona, "Maxwell Demon," and that of his band, "The Venus In Furs", are references to two of the key artists in the original Glam Rock movement: Maxwell Demon was the name of a band in which Brian Eno performed in England in the mid 60s, and "Venus In Furs" (originally the title of a 1870s novel Austrian writer by Leopold Sacher-Masoch, of whose name the term 'masochism' was derived) is the name of a song by Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground. Songs by both artists are featured on the film's soundtrack.
When Brian first sees Mandy, he says "Do you jive?" That's what David Bowie is supposed to have said when he first saw his first wife, Angie Bowie.
The film's structure - a journalist tries to figure out a mystery concerning a cultural icon through research and interviews with those who knew him - is taken directly from Orson Welles' Citizen Kane.
Toni Collette was cast very late in pre-production and had very stiff competition from several other actresses for the role of Mandy Slade. Director Todd Haynes finally cast Collette after the actress faxed him a personal note that read simply "I AM MANDY SLADE!" Haynes saw this as exactly the kind of thing the character Mandy would do.
When Jerry Devine (Eddie Izzard) proposes a project to Curt Wild, Curt says "Heroin was my main man, but now I'm on the methadone and I'm getting my act together and you come here and say you wanna help, and I say hey, far out. You could be my Main Man." This is a clever hint to the name of David Bowie's manager Tony Defries' management company, MainMan, which signed Iggy Pop and later Lou Reed on Bowie's insistence.
The film was originally titled "Glitter Kids." In development, the original screenplay was titled "Glam!"
Todd Haynes originally wanted to cast British pop star Jarvis Cocker as Jack Fairy.
The film is named after the David Bowie song "Velvet Goldmine," which, although originally recorded for the 1972 "Ziggy Stardust" album, wasn't officially released until 1975, becoming the B-side to the re-issue of the "Space Oddity" single which topped the UK Singles Chart.
The young man who says, "Mr. BBC," is played by Wash Westmoreland, brother of Micko Westmoreland, who plays Jack Fairy.
Early in the film, a child recites from "Antigonish" by Hughes Mearns.

Last night I saw upon the stair, A little man who wasn't there, He wasn't there again today Oh, how I wish he'd go away...

David Bowie has said this poem influenced his song "The Man Who Sold the World".

We passed upon the stair We spoke of was and when Although I wasn't there He said I was his friend...
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All three members of the band Placebo are in the movie. The lead singer, Brian Molko, appears as a member of the fictional group The Flaming Creatures, along with bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Hewitt.
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Osheen Jones, who plays Jack Fairy as a little boy, is the son of Howard Jones, British pop star of the 1980s.
The Stooges-type backing band is the called the Wylde Ratts. In the early 1970s there was a Stooges-influenced band playing around Sydney Australia called The Rats.
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The pose of Brian Slade on the cover of the album early in the film resembles the pose David Bowie took on the Diamond Dogs album cover.
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The singer performing a lounge version of Roxy Music's "Bitters End" is Peter Bradley Jr. from the band Subcircus, a last minute replacement for Roland Gift from Fine Young Cannibals.
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The character of Curt Wild was unfairly compared to Kurt Cobain, even though their only similarities were their hair and name. Wild's sexuality, music, performances, style, and off-stage antics were incredibly different than that of Cobain.
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Ewan McGregor's wife, Eve Mavrakis, worked on Christian Bale's breakthrough film, Empire of the Sun (1987).
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