Last month, it was announced that MIDNIGHT SPECIAL director Jeff Nichols would be writing and directing a remake of Graham Baker's 1988 sci-fi thriller ALIEN NATION, a project that was previously being worked on by IRON MAN writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway.
Dealing with themes of immigration and racism in a story where the minority being discriminated against are aliens from a different planet, the original film was set in
Los Angeles, the new home of 300,000 humanoid extraterrestrial. When a gang of these Newcomers kills a police detective's (James Caan) partner, he sets out to solve the crime with his new partner (Mandy Patinkin) - the L.A.P.D.'s first Newcomer detective. But the unlikely pair soon uncover a far more dangerous threat to society.
If you've been imagining what a Nichols-helmed version of that specific story would be like, you might want to reset your expectations. Speaking with ScreenCrush, Nichols said that his version of ALIEN NATION is based on an original idea he was putting together before Fox ever contacted him about doing the remake, so it "doesn't really have anything to do with the original."
Fox called to ask me to do (the remake). I said, ‘No.’ But I had been working on this bigger idea of my own and then I thought about it said, well you know, that’s a good title. And that title could go on to my bigger idea, then maybe I might actually get a chance to get it made. So in that sense I’m currently building it the same way I built all my other movies, meaning kind of from the ground up."
Openly admitting that he is only using the recognizable title to get his own idea made is some admirably straightforward honesty, especially at such an early stage in the project's development. Nichols went on to say that his story will deal with the time when the aliens are just starting to make their way out into our world.
With (the original ALIEN NATION) you’re looking at a society that was already built, they were already integrated into the society. And if you go back further and you think about those early days, that’s what I was focusing on."
Sounds interesting. All we can do now is wait and see how it goes.
Kirsten Dunst in MIDNIGHT SPECIAL