In 1976, David Bowie starred in The Man Who Fell to Earth, where he played Thomas Jerome Newton, an alien who has come to Earth to find water for his planet. The film is a quiet, insular look at an alien living among us, and become Bowie’s most famous acting role. Now, Paramount+ is remaking The Man Who Fell to Earth with 12 Years a Slave and Doctor Strange’s Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Co-writers and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet made the announcement saying they “couldn’t be more thrilled” about Chiwetel Ejiofor taking on the role. The series will be a co-production between CBS Studios and Tandem Productions, which is a StudioCanal Company. StudioCanal owns the rights not only for the original Walter Tevis book the story is based on, but also Bowie’s 1976 film. The Man Who Fell to Earth also received a made-for-TV movie back in 1987, which featured Lewis Smith, Wil Wheaton, Annie Potts, and Beverly D’Angelo, although it hasn’t had the longevity of Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 original.
Chiwetel Ejiofor has had an impressive career right from the beginning, as his first film was Steven Spielberg’s 1997 movie Amistad. Since then, Ejiofor has appeared in such films as Serenity, Inside Man, Children of Men, The Martian, Doctor Strange, and Love Actually. In 2013, Ejiofor starred in 12 Years a Slave, which won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and earned Ejiofor a Best Actor nomination for his performance as Solomon Northup. Ejiofor was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award for the performance.
Most recently, Chiwetel Ejiofor starred in Doug Liman’s 2021 film Locked Down, and the 2020 action film, The Old Guard, with Charlize Theron. In 2019, Ejiofor made his feature directorial debut with The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which he also wrote and starred in. That year, he also voiced Scar in Disney’s The Lion King remake, and appeared in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
In addition to The Man Who Fell to Earth, Chiwetel Ejiofor has a number of other projects on the way. Next, the actor has Infinite, from Training Day director Antoine Fuqua, and also starring Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O’Brien, and Jason Mantzoukas. Infinite is currently planned for a May 28, 2021 release. Ejiofor is also currently filming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where he plays Karl Mordo. This second Doctor Strange film is scheduled for a March 25, 2022 release.
But despite having a massive career in both movies and on the stage, it’s been quite some time since Ejiofor has been the past of a television series. Ejiofor starred in 2013’s BBC miniseries, Dancing on the Edge, and in another 2011 miniseries for BBC Two, entitled The Shadow Line. While it’s not clear what the plan is for The Man Who Fell to Earth, it sounds as though this new series is planned to be more than just a miniseries.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is an excellent choice for this role, and it seems like he will bring an entirely different energy to Tevis’ book than what David Bowie did with this story.