Bill Nighy Cast as David Bowie’s Character in The Man Who Fell To Earth

Last year, Paramount+ revealed plans to bring The Man Who Fell To Earth to TV with Chiwetel Ejiofor starring as a new alien character. Subsequent casting announcements made it sound as though the producers were taking significant liberties with Walter Tevis’ 1963 novel and its 1976 film adaptation. But now we have a better idea of how the new series connects to Tevis’ classic story. Deadline brings word that Bill Nighy has been cast as Thomas Newton, the original book’s protagonist and the same character played by David Bowie in the film.

The novel and film introduced Thomas as an alien who visits Earth to find a new home for his species. Unfortunately, his experimentation with human vices leaves him unable to complete his mission. Judging by Nighy’s character description, the TV show will pick up over 40 years after Thomas’ story seemingly ended. Still marooned on Earth, Thomas reaches out to another member of his race, Faraday (Ejiofor), to finish what he started.

Nighy will find himself in familiar company when he starts work on The Man Who Fell To Earth. He and Ejiofor previously co-starred in Love Actually in 2003. Another actor, Naomie Harris, also appeared alongside Nighy in two of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean films. The remaining cast includes Jimmi Simpson, Rob Delaney, Sonya Cassidy, Joana Ribeiro, Annelle Olaleye, Kate Mulgrew, and Clarke Peters.

RELATED: Jimmi Simpson and Naomie Harris Join Showtime’s The Man Who Fell To Earth

“I was honoured to be invited to play the part of Thomas Jerome Newton that glorious David Bowie made so famous,” said Nighy in a statement. “I was keen to work with Chiwetel and Naomie again [and] I am an enthusiast for shows which extrapolate from current technology and give us plausible glimpses of a possible near future. It’s an important story which, as well as being highly entertaining, discusses the crucial issues of our time. I like to think that the filmmakers of the original film would applaud Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet for their imaginative daring and loyal regard.”

Writers Kurtzman and Lumet are showrunning the series with John Hlavin. They will also executive produce alongside Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Heather Kadin. Ejiorfor, Aaron Baiers, and Studiocanal’s Rola Bauer and Françoise Guyonnet are serving as EPs as well.

Paramount+ still hasn’t set a release date for The Man Who Fell To Earth.

How do you feel about Nighy stepping into Bowie’s role for the new series? Let us know in the comment section below!

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