Showtime’s The Man Who Fell to Earth takes a story explored twice before, first in the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis and then the 1976 film starring David Bowie, and presents an updated version of the same concept, with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris starring.
Awards Radar had the chance to speak with series creators, writers, executive producers, and showrunners Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet on what appealed to them about the original versions, what was important to change, and how this endeavor compares to the other big science-fiction show they’re currently behind, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
On the challenge of making a new show, Kurtzman expressed:
“We wanted to both honor the source material in the film and in the novel and do something completely different, because why tell stories that have already been told, and why repeat what great artists have already done? It was also very daunting because we were standing in the shadow of Nick Roeg, and Tevis, and David Bowie, and so if you’re going to do that, you have to bring something to the table that is special and unique. It’s one thing to say, sure, we’ll pick up story threads that they set up, but anybody can really do that. It’s actually more about coming up with new ways to riff on them, and feel that they are hopefully in the same zone of that creative spark.”
On surprising reactions they’ve seen to the show, Lumet shared:
“My kids love it, which, when we were writing it, I was surprised. My friends’ kids who are ten love it. And my son, who’s in his mid-twenties, and my daughter who’s fourteen. And I know they’re not just saying it because I caught them watching it when I wasn’t there. That kind of blew my mind. The reviews – it does matter and you do think about it. You do hope that what you’re trying to do, somebody gets it. The stuff that we’re hearing back just makes your heart sing.”
Listen to the full conversation below:
New episodes of The Man Who Fell to Earth premiere Sunday nights on Showtime through the season finale on July 3rd.