Alien Nation, the neo-noir science fiction action movie directed by Graham Baker back in 1988, was not particularly well-received upon release. Since then though, Alien Nation has gained something of a cult following thanks to the buddy cop relationship between stars James Caan and Mandy Patinkin, as well as the movie's timely socio-political commentary.
Thanks to these popular elements, an Alien Nation remake has been in discussion for some time, with Midnight Special director Jeff Nichols coming close before 20th Century Fox was bought by Disney. The latest news of the Alien Nation remake is that it has sadly been scrapped, but Nichols' frequent collaborator Michael Shannon is still holding out hope.
"Well, it might mutate into something else. I don't know how much I should say about it, but all I'll say is that it's not necessarily entirely gone. It's still kind of kicking around out there, but it might be something different."
Clearly, Michael Shannon thinks there is potential, and now believes that Nichols' work on Alien Nation could become something else. A project for the smaller screen, perhaps? Alien Nation takes place in a version of Los Angeles where humans live alongside extraterrestrial humanoid beings whose spaceship crash-landed three years earlier. This coexistence is not always harmonious, as exemplified by segregated slums and the uneasy partnership of police detective Matthew Sykes with new humanoid partner Sam Francisco. However, the pair begin to overcome their differences as they investigate a slum drug ring led by the slippery William Harcourt.
The story contains all of the elements necessary for a television series, and with so many streaming platforms now investing in exclusive programming, it might be a good idea for Nichols to shop his idea around.
For now, though, we all wait with bated breath to see what Nichols puts his name to next and whether Shannon will be involved.
"We've been talking a lot. Jeff has had a bit of a dry patch and not by his own preference. He's really itching and scratching to make a film. He put a lot of time into this one particular project [Alien Nation] that he'd been writing for Fox, and then the Disney merger happened. Disney kinda said, "No, thanks." So, we're trying to pick up the pieces there, but he's writing other scripts. He's really anxious to make another picture, I can tell you that. I'm not exactly sure when or what it will be, but as soon as we can and as soon as this baffling situation allows us to do something, we will."
So, it sounds like Nichols is not up to much at the moment, but the quality of his prior works Take Shelter, Mud, and Midnight Special, have movie fans everywhere excited to see what he cooks up next. It is also disappointing to hear that Alien Nation looks unlikely, but it's promising that Shannon is still hopeful that the project will one day come to fruition.
You can soon see Michael Shannon in the upcoming mystery thriller The Quarry. This comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.