Showtime is preparing to debut The Man Who Fell to Earth, a brand new sci-fi series that star Chiwetel Ejiofor praises as "deeply optimistic." The show is a loose adaptation of Walter Tevis's 1963 novel of the same name, and is a sequel to the 1976 David Bowie film, also titled The Man Who Fell to Earth. The new series was developed by Jenny Lumet and Alex Kurtzman, and it picks up 40-45 years after the original movie, with Ejiofor playing Faraday, an alien character comes to Earth to find Thomas Jerome Newton (Bowie's alien character in the original, now played by Bill Nighy) as well as a way to save his species.
When asked what drew him to the role, Ejiofor said, "There were a lot of things really. It kind of starts, I think, for me with this really iconic film, The Man Who Fell to Earth, and David Bowie, and just what he brought to that. I remember seeing it when I was young and just being blown away by just how iconic he was, and just the energy that he gave, just sort of coming off the screen was just sort of amazing. And so it sort of was always in my imagination, in a way. Of the sort of iconic nature of that, of David Bowie's persona in that."
Ejiofor continued, "So when I saw that Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet had written this extension 45 years later, that was set 45 years later, I was really excited about it. It was sort of trying to pick up and continue the story, as opposed to redoing the story or something. It's very much a kind of sequel and then expanding in the universe of that. And so seeing where some of the same characters go, David Bowie's character, now Thomas Jerome newton is played by Bill Nighy, and we recognize and see other people in the show from the original film."
The actor added, "There was a lot that I loved about it, and then just sort of reading it and just its impact was phenomenal. I just thought it was kind of beautifully done, and these really incredible characters. I loved Faraday as this sort of central character, this sort of new alien who's on this mission to save Anthea and maybe save Earth as well. And this wonderful character that he enlists, Justin Falls, played by Naomie Harris. And her family, by extension, is how becomes aware of humanity."
He concluded how it felt "deeply optimistic" about humanity. "That kind of connection and love. And so I just thought it was so rich, such a rich world that Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet had created." The Man Who Fell to Earth also stars Naomie Harris, Jimmi Simpson, Kate Mulgrew, Sonya Cassidy, Clarke Peters, and Rob Delaney. It premieres Sunday, April 24 at 10 p.m ET, on SHOWTIME, with the first two episodes airing back to back.