20th Century Fox had been developing a remake of the R-rated science fiction buddy-cop film Alien Nation from writer/director Jeff Nichols with actor Michael Shannon (Knives Out, Man of Steel) attached to take a leading role. However, in the wake of the Disney/Fox merger the Alien Nation remake was shelved along with a handful of other projects that had been in development at the studio.
The Hollywood Reporter recently spoke with Michael Shannon about the prospect of them still making it and it sounds like it might find new life at some point, when and where is unclear.
SHANNON: “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.”
“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.”
The original film certainly had an edge to it that was refreshing for the era and I’ll be hoping that it’ll land somewhere in the future. I’m slightly curious if Shannon is hinting that it might end up heading to FX or Hulu as a miniseries or something more substantial.
ALIEN NATION – In Los Angeles circa 1991, 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 (James Caan) with new humanoid partner Sam Francisco (Mandy Patinkin). However, the pair begin to overcome their differences as they investigate a slum drug ring led by the slippery William Harcourt (Terence Stamp).