Director Jeff Nichols has exhibited a fascinating range in recent years with acclaimed indies Take Shelter (2011) and Mud (2012) through his 2016 double Midnight Special and the upcoming Loving. Deadline reports that Nichols is now tackling something different as he appears to be in charge of directing a remake of the 1988 science fiction thriller Alien Nation over at Fox. As Loving, which premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival to warm reviews, tells a true story of racial tension, Alien Nation may work on a similar track on an altogether more metaphorical way.
Alien Nation, which was directed by Graham Baker, told the futuristic story of the aftermath of aliens assimilating on Earth and the partnership between a racist cop and an alien detective – James Caan and Mandy Patinkin starred in the original film. Distilled in a nearly McCarthy-era level of metaphor, Alien Nation cleverly spoke of racial tension. While the film is perhaps not as keenly remembered today, it did spawn a television series spin-off shortly thereafter. As for the remake, Nichols will pen the screenplay as well as direct. As of now, no start date appears to have been established.
Loving, which stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, tells the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who sparked a Supreme Court precedent in the late 1950s. The film, which also co-stars Nichols mainstay Michael Shannon, will screen at the Toronto Film Festival this coming weekend in a bid to bolster the film’s awards chances. Focus Features will release the film on November 4th. Midnight Special (which starred Shannon and Edgerton) opened last March and has its ardent fans as well; our own Brett Harrison Davinger recently wrote that the film should be remembered in the awards season as well.
Speaking of Shannon, who has appeared in all of Nichols’ films so far, it will be interesting to see if the Oscar nominated actor will be courted for Alien Nation. He does have alien cred if Man of Steel is any indication. We will stay tuned to the latest.