Chiwetel Ejiofor stars in The Man Who Fell to Earth, a new take on the iconic 1976 film starring David Bowie (based on a novel by Walter Tevis). In Showtime‘s adventure drama, he plays the title character, Faraday, an alien who comes to Earth on a mission to get water for his dying planet.
The brave, determined Faraday gets a rocky start after crashing in the New Mexico desert (watching him try to communicate with the police and other humans is by turns terrifying and comic) but Ejiofor tells us, “Slowly but surely he discovers some of the amazing qualities that human beings have. Some of the remarkable and gentle and special and loving qualities. That kind of gives him the impetus to continue his mission and to understand that humanity is really, truly worth saving.”
He first learns those lessons from the one human he’s been instructed to track down, “the only person who can assist him” — brilliant scientist Justin Falls (Naomie Harris). She’s put her career on hold to raise a young daughter while caring for her ill father (Clarke Peters). Wary of Faraday at first, she “has such a big heart,” Harris says, that she ends up helping him. Her genius kicks into gear when the duo realize that to save his planet, they must save Earth too. Says Harris, “It does become her mission, for which she’s willing to sacrifice the things she loves most in the world.”
That level of risk is very real, as Faraday learns from Thomas Newton (Bill Nighy), a fellow alien from Faraday’s home planet Anthea, whose earlier mission to Earth went disastrously. “The humans he came into contact with stole all his science. He’s been on the run for 45 years, trying to evade the CIA,” reveals Nighy whose character has never really recovered psychologically from his horrible torture.
In pursuit of them is the CIA’s Spencer Clay (Jimmi Simpson) who’s out to prove himself after being “in the doghouse” at work. (An early scene where he gaslights a waitress shows just how much sport he gets out of tormenting people.) He’s unafraid of violent means. Says Simpson. “[Clay is] the one who can do this and not flinch.”
The Man Who Fell to Earth, Series Premiere, Sunday, April 24, Showtime