Showtime’s new sequence The Man Who Fell to Earth, created by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, is a sequel to the 1976 Nicolas Roeg film of the identical identify, which stars David Bowie as an idealistic alien corrupted by human vices.
“We had been simply attempting to honor [The Man Who Fell to Earth author Walter] Tevis and Bowie and Nicolas Roeg and the wonderful storytellers that got here earlier than us, however we additionally exist in a continuum of science fiction storytelling,” Kurtzman says in Episode 513 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I wish to consider that we might be on the vanguard of what science fiction is now, and of what it’ll turn into.”
The sequence stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as an alien from the planet Anthea who arrives on Earth 45 years after the occasions of the unique movie. Kurtzman and Ejiofor created an in depth backstory with a view to painting a believably alien character. “We got here up with the concept their planet itself was so loud—simply the winds and the whole lot that was occurring—the destruction of the planet was so loud that they developed away from speaking verbally, and that they needed to talk nonverbally,” Kurtzman says. “We ended up constructing this complete signal language that they use to speak, and a really explicit method of transferring collectively. In order that’s only a strategy of tons and many rehearsals.”
In a single memorable scene the alien is discovered bare, guzzling water from a backyard hose that has been shoved a number of ft down his throat. “It’s actually only a riff off what they did within the novel and the movie, as a result of he involves Earth for water, as a result of his planet is completely starved of water,” Kurtzman says. “I believe we took the spirit of that concept and interpreted it in our personal method, that in case you got here from a planet with no water however you wanted water, if abruptly water was in abundance in every single place, you’d in all probability wish to drink it on a regular basis since you don’t take it with no consideration.”
One other main affect was the bodily comedy of Buster Keaton, who was famend for transferring his physique in uncommon methods whereas holding his face completely nonetheless. It wasn’t till after filming was full that Kurtzman found he wasn’t alone in drawing inspiration from Keaton. “I discovered a set of pictures that had been taken on the set of The Man Who Fell to Earth—the unique movie—and Bowie is sitting in his trailer, holding up an autobiography of Buster Keaton, with an enormous image of Buster Keaton’s face on it, and he’s mimicking Buster Keaton’s face side-by-side,” Kurtzman says. “We hadn’t even seen that, and in some way, osmotically, we bought that off of his efficiency, which was unimaginable.”
Take heed to the whole interview with Alex Kurtzman in Episode 513 of Geek’s Information to the Galaxy (above). And take a look at some highlights from the dialogue under.
Alex Kurtzman on characterization:
What number of “alien involves Earth after which the federal government tries to seize them” tales are you able to inform, notably in an unique method? We knew we would have liked the [Jimmi Simpson] character, however I believe what Jenny and I didn’t need was to be scripting this—hopefully—stunning character story after which abruptly really feel like once you lower to the CIA you’re in The Bourne Id. There would simply be huge tonal dissonance there, it simply wouldn’t really feel proper. And so we had been like, “How can we do that?” I believe oftentimes the best way to unravel an issue like that’s you say, “OK, neglect about the truth that they’re within the CIA. What makes them attention-grabbing and compelling?” And we got here to this concept that, “What if he’s simply actually the meanest man on the earth? What if he’s simply each a complete sadist and a complete masochist, all on the similar time?”
Alex Kurtzman on fandom:
There’s one thing attention-grabbing about what [the Black Mirror episode “USS Callister”] says about fandom typically, not only for Star Trek, however fandom typically. Fandom of any variety is a spot—notably, I believe, in our childhoods—the place we escape to create an alternate actuality for ourselves if our realities aren’t fairly what we would like them to be, and that’s why issues like Star Trek or Marvel or Star Wars, that’s why folks have such deep private reactions, as a result of there’s one thing very private about one’s connection to a franchise that speaks to “that is the place I felt protected once I was a child.” And I suppose there’s an inherent darkness to it, regardless that it’s additionally an exquisite, wonderful factor, and there’s a lot gentle to it as nicely. So it was sort of a perspective about what occurs when it goes very, very improper.
Alex Kurtzman on David Bowie:
There have been a pair days the place I might simply do these actually deep dives into Bowie interviews … As a younger man he’s completely fearless, unbelievably fearless, and has each a confidence and an insecurity which might be actually fairly extraordinary. He’s pushing each boundary there may be, however you possibly can see that there’s an unimaginable vulnerability in who he’s. And then you definately go into the center section of his profession, and he’s undoubtedly calmed down extra, however he’s nonetheless very unafraid to say the factor that should get mentioned, and to impress. After which by the point you get into his older years there’s the knowledge that comes with age, and a life lived the best way that solely David Bowie might dwell his life. So I prefer to assume that he was outlined by bravery.
Alex Kurtzman on science fiction:
I do know that as an viewers member I get excited once I see one thing that’s attempting to do one thing completely different, that’s riffing on one thing that I like nevertheless it’s doing it another way. And that’s actually what we got down to do with The Man Who Fell to Earth. And I believe it’s actually cathartic, I believe it’s speaking about issues that aren’t simply related now, they’re going to find out the way forward for whether or not or not we’re on this planet, however in a method that’s actually entertaining. Nice science fiction makes you consider your house within the universe, that’s the purpose. Nevertheless it additionally entertains you, and it permits you to go to completely different worlds, and to ascertain issues that you simply didn’t even assume had been potential, and also you get transported into an entire universe, and I believe that’s what the present does.