The Man Who Fell to Earth is coming to TV (again)! Deadline reports that CBS All Access has ordered a series based on the 1963 sci-fi novel by Walter Tevis, as well as its cult 1976 film adaptation by Nicolas Roeg, to be executive produced and showrun by none other than Star Trek: Discovery‘s Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet.
But don’t expect the fey, Byronic Thomas Jerome Newton made famous by David Bowie. Instead, Deadline reports this version of The Man Who Fell to Earth will revolve around a “new central alien character” inspired by various tech moguls like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, and Elon Musk.
“Walter Tevis’ visionary novel gave us a Tech God Willy Wonka from another planet, brought to life by David Bowie’s legendary performance, that foretold Steve Jobs’ and Elon Musk’s impact on our world,” Kurtzman and Lumet said in a statement, according to Deadline. “The series will imagine the next step in our evolution, seen through the eyes of an alien who must learn what it means to become human, even as he fights for the survival of his species.”
Kurtzman added that the TV show will look very different from Roeg’s surreal visuals.
“Nicolas Roeg was a legend, and the last thing I would want to do is mimic his work in any way,” Kurtzman told Deadline. “He saw this story through his own prism. He captured that incredible sense of loneliness of a small character in a larger landscape, the alienation the character felt. He captured that feeling, and I want to find a way to capture a feeling, not necessarily in the way he did.”
As for who they’ll cast as their new alien overlord, Kurtzman and Lumet said they’re also going to stay far away from Bowie’s iconic portrayal.
“He was a magical creature, a unicorn. We’re not trying to replicate that,” they said in a statement, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “What was interesting to us about that character and the novel was this creature who didn’t understand us and what it meant to be human being. We’re going to look for somebody who is going to transform themselves into this incredible creature. What will be fun is to see how they go from literally not understanding human language to being the modern equivalent of Steve Jobs and to watch that evolution.”
This won’t be The Man Who Fell to Earth‘s first brush with TV. In 1987, THR reports, ABC shot a pilot that ended up airing as a TV movie instead.
CBS’ Man Who Fell to Earth has a finished pilot script, written by Kurtzman and Lumet, who will be joined by John Hlavin in EP and showrunning duties. Kurtzman will direct. Deadline reports that the show’s writers room will be opened in September.
Who would you cast as alien!Elon?