I once heard an anecdote about the great cinematographer, Sven Nykvist.

It was in-between setups on the set of Bergman’s Through a Glass, Darkly and Nykvist was relaxing under a tree with a fellow crew member. A production assistant came over to tell Nykvist that he was needed on set immediately.

The crew member with whom he was sharing a moment of relaxation, turned to him and said: “Sven, let’s hurry, they need you.” Nykvist turned back and replied “No rush, without us, it’s radio”.

The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976, dir. Nicolas Roeg)

David Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth (1976, dir. Nicolas Roeg) (via)

Roeg: “We really didn’t need to talk about the role at all; he was the part the moment he stepped on to the set. During the first week of shooting, there were some studio folks lurking about—more to meet David Bowie than anything else, I’d imagine—and they expressed a few reservations. ‘He seems a little…odd, don’t you think?’ And I told them, ‘The character is an alien; how is he supposed to act? Like he’s Gary Cooper?’

It wasn’t like David was unfriendly—we had dinner together numerous times, and he ran a lending library out of his trailer, which was full of books on every subject imaginable—but he kept himself separate to the point that others started to think of him as this mysterious ‘other,’ you know? So much of that performance is simply Bowie being himself—and that’s what’s so brilliant about it.” (via)