David Bowie’s ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ Returns as a TV Show
CBS All Access has announced a television program based on David Bowie's movie The Man Who Fell to Earth that will explore “the next chapter” of the protagonist’s life.
Bowie played Thomas Jerome Newton in the Nicolas Roeg film, which was based on a 1963 book of the same name by Walter Tevis. Newton is an alien who pretends to be human while working on a plan to save his home planet. Variety says the new TV show, which is already in production, places the alien's arrival "at a turning point in human evolution," adding that he "must confront his own past to determine our future."
Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet – who have both worked on Star Trek: Discovery – have been named as showrunners. They say newcomers needn't be familiar with the original interpretation.
“Some strings will connect both the novel and the film but if you haven’t seen the film or haven’t read the novel, it’s fine,” Kurtzman said. “You’ll get to have an experience that’s entirely singular. If you have, you’ll have the benefit of understanding the benefit of the world that both of these things set up.” He added: “It’s a globe-hopping show. It’s the story of an alien who travels the world to understand who we are as a species."
Watch ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ Movie Trailer
The Man Who Fell to Earth was Bowie’s first acting role, and took place during a period in which he’d become disillusioned with making music. “Just being me as I was was perfectly adequate for the role," he said later. "I wasn’t of this earth at that particular time."
Bowie returned to The Man Who Fell to Earth late in life. He wrote music and lyrics for Lazarus, a stage show based on the movie, which was first performed just before his death in 2016.
Lumet suggested there would be no attempt to replicate Bowie’s unique performance of the lead role, and that there were “too many to name” in terms of ideal casting.