Velvet Goldmine is about a boy named Brian Slade who is played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers who goes to a music festival one day and sees glam rock superstar Curt Wild played by Ewan McGregor and Slade decides that he wants to be a glam rock pop music star at that moment. But as time goes by Slade falls out of love with the character he has created and also starts to think that everything he has stood for was trapping him into a situation he would never be able to recover from. To remedy this Slade plans his own murder to fall out of the public eye but when it is revealed to the public that the murder was staged Slade falls from grace and the public does not care anymore. About 13 years later a newspaper editor decides that he wants to resurrect the story of Brian Slade and assigns Arthur Stuart, played by Christian Bale, to go and find out what happened to Slade. Stuart finds himself a little torn by the assignment because he was not only a fan of Slade’s 13 years earlier but he also harbors sexual feelings for Slade as well. They find out as the story goes on that their lives are intertwined from past events and the story unfolds from there.
The character of Brian Slade is based loosely on the pop superstar David Bowie and the character of Curt Wild is based a little more closely on pop superstar Iggy Pop. David Bowie was originally approached to lend some of his music to the movie but when he got a hold of the script he realized that much of the script was based on the unauthorized biography about Bowie written by his ex-wife and rather than lend any songs to the movie Bowie had threatened to sue if the movie was made as the original script was written. Eventually the Bowie references were written out but the Bowie persona was left in to Jonathan Rhys Meyers character and Bowie has gone on record saying he completely disapproves of the movie. In retrospect it takes a lot of courage to be the producers of Velvet Goldmine knowing that their David Bowie based character is given homosexual undertones, and knowing that part of their script was based on a book that Bowie himself fought to not have published, and then still be able to ask Bowie to contribute to the movie. Unfortunately David Bowie does not harbor any respect at all for actions such as the ones taken to make the movie Velvet Goldmine. It probably does not help either that Velvet Goldmine is the title of a David Bowie song.