Who did this, and how do we thank them? Variety reports that Chiwetel Ejiofor will star in Paramount Plus’s upcoming The Man Who Fell to Earth series. The television adaptation will reportedly be based on both the novel by Walter Tevis and the 1976 film, directed by Nicolas Roeg, which starred David Bowie.
These are not small shoes* to fill, but Ejiofor is a brilliant choice to fill them.
Last summer, it was announced that the showrunning team behind Star Trek: Discovery, Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, would be tackling The Man Who Felt to Earth. At that point, the showrunners said that their version would center on a new alien character, and would “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.”
Tevis’s novel is about an alien who comes to earth in search of a way to save his home planet and species, but sinks into despair after spending too much time with humanity. The Bowie film is a cult classic; Emmet Asher-Perrin wrote about the adaptation for Bowie Week in 2014.
Ejiofor is an inspired choice. The actor steps easily between genre films (blockbusters and otherwise) and drama, and brings an astonishing level of sympathy and a certain down-to-earth world-weariness to even his smaller roles (think of Copley in last year’s The Old Guard, pictured above). His casting is a clear sign that Kurtzman and Lumet aren’t trying to replicate Bowie’s performance, but really do something different with this story and character.
There’s no word yet on when production will begin.
* Yes, this is a Kinky Boots joke, I simply could not help myself. When will Ejiofor get to have fun on screen again?