In 1976 Nicolas Roeg directed one of the greatest, freakiest, and most surreal science fiction films ever made, The Man Who Fell To Earth. It starred a brilliant David Bowie as a visitor from outer space, proving once again that actors are always on sure footing when they draw from their own experience. The whole movie, which co-starred Rip Torn, Candy Clark, and Buck Henry, and captured Bowie as his music entered his Thin White Duke phase, is a terrific example of lightning in a bottle.
Paramount Plus will make a new series based on the property, according to reports. Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, are producing and writing the series. Their current projects with Paramount Plus (technically still CBS All Access) include Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and Clarice. Previous film collaborations include the Tom Cruise version of The Mummy.
The exciting news is the casting: Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role.
“[His] stage and film career are staggering in their bravery, commitment and quality,” Kurtzman and Lumet said. “He’s everything we could imagine and a million things we can’t.”
Ejiofor has some sci fi credits under his belt, including Children of Men, The Martian, Doctor Strange, and Z For Zachariah. He also directed the terrific Netflix drama The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind in 2019.
There’s a bit of a Netflix connection with The Man Who Fell To Earth. Roeg’s film was based on a 1963 novel by Walter Tevis who, as it happens, also wrote The Queen’s Gambit, which was one of 2020’s runaway successes on the streamer. (Tevis also wrote The Hustler and The Color of Money, which were adapted into films starring Paul Newman.) A television adaptation of The Man Who Fell To Earth was made in 1987 for ABC. It was intended as a series, but only the pilot aired.
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