There are some directors who you expect to wind up helming big-budget remakes of cult sci-fi properties, and others you don’t. Jeff Nichols undoubtedly falls into the latter category, which makes it such a nice surprise to find out that he has been confirmed to direct the big-screen remake of Alien Nation.
Released in 1988 and starring heavyweight cast of James Caan, Mandy Patinkin and Terence Stamp, Alien Nation took the form of a buddy-cop drama across a sci-fi backdrop, namely a future Los Angeles in which humans and recently landed aliens coexist – albeit not without plenty of friction, thus providing a hefty license with which to explore themes and tropes like segregation and racism.
Later spinning off into a short-lived TV series, it survived in TV movie form – the last one being The Udara Legacy in 1997 – but has since garnered a not-insubstantial cult following, making the revelation of this film’s existence a pleasant one.
Then again, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised. Indeed, in a previous interview with SciFiNow, Nichols pretty openly hinted at his involvement, saying of his future projects: “I’m working on an alien idea right now, and it means something to me, and it has representations in my personal life, but also talks about society as a whole, which the sci-fi genre really is really good at.” Yep, sounds a lot like Alien Nation. How did we not see it?
Regardless, we’re happy. Between Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, Mud and Midnight Special, Nichols has a seriously good track record. And if he was to direct any sci-fi property, we’d rather it was one like this, where he has more of a license to stamp his own vision on things.
This seems to be backed up by the revelation that while a script was originally penned for 20th Century Fox by Art Marcum and Matt Holloway, the film will be backed up by Nichols’ own musings. With his next film, Loving, due out soon, he’s definitely keeping busy…
A release date for Alien Nation is yet to be announced. For all the latest movie news, pick up the new issue of SciFiNow.