The 12 Years a Slave Oscar nominee will play the title role in the series, an alien who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution. He has to confront his own past in order to determine humanity’s future.
“Chiwetel Ejiofor’s stage and film career are staggering in their bravery, commitment and quality,” said showrunners and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet (Clarice). “He’s everything we could imagine and a million things we can’t. We couldn’t be more thrilled.”
Ordered to series in 2019, The Man Who Fell to Earth is based on a 1963 novel by Walter Tevis (The Queen’s Gambit), which was adapted as a 1976 movie starring David Bowie. Ejiofor won’t be playing the same character Bowie did, but rather a new alien who lands on our planet.
Ejiofor’s recent film work includes HBO Max’s Locked Down, Netflix’s The Old Guard, Doctor Strange and The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. He also earned an Emmy nomination for the 2013 limited series Dancing on the Edge, which aired on Starz in the United States.
CBS Studios and Tandem Productions, a Studiocanal company, are producing the series in association with with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout and Timberman/Beverly. (Studiocanal owns the rights to Tevis’ novel and the 1976 movie.) Kurtzman and Lumet are writing and executive producing and will serve as co-showrunners with fellow EP John Hlavin. Kurtzman will also direct. Rola Bauer, Tim Halkin, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly and Heather Kadin also executive produce, and Aaron Baiers will serve as co-EP.
Paramount+ is set to launch March 4 in a rebranding and expansion of CBS All Access. Original series in the works at the ViacomCBS streamer include The Offer, about the making of The Godfather, a revival of Nickelodeon’s iCarly and a possible Frasier revival, among others. They’ll join CBS All Access originals The Good Fight, The Twilight Zone and the Star Trek franchise on the renamed platform.