Chiwetel Ejiofor, the British actor who appeared in Doctor Strange and The Old Guard, has been cast in the title role for Paramount+'s upcoming remake of The Man Who Fell to Earth. The original film, which starred David Bowie, was based on the science fiction novel of the same title by Walter Tevis. It centers on a humanoid alien who crash lands on Earth while trying to find a water source for his planet, which is suffering from a serious drought. Humanity's foibles soon take center stage, though, as the alien is harassed, abused, and detained by opportunistic humans.
The Paramount+ version will be co-written and executive produced by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, and according to Deadline, who first reported Ejiofor's casting, "will follow a new alien character...who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution and must confront his own past to determine our future."
Ejiofor, who is expected to reprise his role as Baron Mordo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is a big get for the streamer, although between the shift toward prestige television and the pandemic, big stars going to streaming platforms is getting much more common.
"Chiwetel Ejiofor's stage and film career are staggering in their bravery, commitment and quality," said Kurtzman and Lumet in a statement. "He's everything we could imagine and a million things we can't. We couldn't be more thrilled."
Kurtzman and Lumet will serve as showrunners, with Kurtzman set to serve as the directorial voice of the series. John Hlavin will serve as executive producer, along with Rola Bauer, Tim Halkin, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Heather Kadin. Aaron Baiers will co-executive produce.
It seems likely that the series will be a bit closer to the original source material than the Bowie version was, although it's not yet known whether the producers will keep the visually stylized approach of the original movie, which has helped it endure as a cult classic. Widely regarded as one of the best science-fiction films ever made, The Man Who Fell to Earth has a long pop culture footprint, including the 2009 Watchmen movie, in which filmmaker Zack Snyder and his team used The Man Who Fell to Earth as a visual touchstone when creating sets for Doctor Manhattan's apartment as well as Ozymandias's arctic lair from the end of the film.
There is no exact timetable for the release of The Man Who Fell to Earth, which will go into production soon. Paramount+ will debut as an evolution in CBS All Access beginning in March.