The man who fell to Earth: a series in the footsteps of David Bowie

The man who fell to Earth: a series in the footsteps of David Bowie

Perhaps his most memorable role is the villain of Labyrinth (1986), that his riskiest role was that of The famine (1983), or that millennials remember him more like Tesla in the big trick (2006). But the Thomas Jerome Newton that Davie Bowie embodied in The man who fell to Earth (1976) was his first leading role in the cinema and, above all, a character who materialized what many already believed at the time: Duke Bloque could not be of this world.

“I think what David Bowie was able to do, through the combination of his ability as a performer and his genuine persona, was to infuse this alien Anthea with a really deep emotional intelligence and a love of life and the world,” he says. the British Chiwetel Ejiofor, the protagonist of the television series who, almost half a century later, decided to return to the story that the musician popularized in the mid-70s.

Bill Nighy in fiction. Photo: Aimee Spinks/SHOWTIME.

titled The man who fell to Earth -just like the 1963 novel by Walter Tevis on which both projects are based-, the fiction available on the Paramount+ platform is conceived as a continuation of the original film. Therefore, it does not omit the alien that Bowie brought to life, but incorporates it, this time in the skin of veteran Bill Nighy. “If someone comes 40 years later to play Thomas Jerome Newton, you can only have a legend playing a legend,” Ejiofor sums up. Worship via video call. “He also captures, with every fiber of his being, that kind of elegance and emotional intelligence,” she adds.

For his part, the actor nominated for an Oscar for 12 years a slave (2013) assumes the role of Faraday, an alien who lands in New Mexico with the mission of convincing a scientist (Naomie Harris) that he is her only hope to save his kind, while he must learn how to be human.

“You can only play your own alien. There really isn’t a way to use anything that someone else has done before, because the moments in your own experience where you felt like an alien, where you felt like an outsider or something similar, are yours alone. So you play your alien through that kind of lens,” says the actor, who acknowledges that to build his character he looked back on his origins as the son of Nigerian parents who immigrated to England. “Faraday understands that he brings something powerful, and that represents a lot of what the immigration experience is,” he notes.

Photo: Aimee Spinks/SHOWTIME.

A pandemic and a war later, the production bets on increasing its resonance in the current state of the world. In this sense, Ejiofor considers that the story he heads suddenly became “more necessary.” “The science fiction of the future has penetrated and it’s right now right in our faces every day, it feels like science fiction all the time,” he says. Although he also believes that there are things that do not change: “I think (the series) means something different, but its central root, in connection, in love and in human potential, remains intact”.


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