Bowie's Tesla makes a perfect circle with Thomas Newton of The Man Who Fell to Earth: They are visionary aliens abroad, revered and reviled for their mad-scientist gifts; their ideas are stolen and debased, they live out their latter days in isolation, and they can wear a suit like nobody's business. Thirty years apart, these roles also prove that—in the hands of the right director—David Bowie, Thespian, is a snazzy magic trick. Nolan says he never considered anyone else for Tesla, and no wonder. Who else but the Human Lightning Bolt would you believe can conjure electricity out of thin air?
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