Jeff Nichols is in Toronto right now, introducing his new civil-rights drama-romance Loving, following its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film won’t hit stateside shores until later this year but Nichols has seemingly already found a new project that would bring him back to the science fiction fold. Deadline reports that Nichols is currently in negotiations with 20th Century Fox to write and direct a new version of Alien Nation, the 1988 science fiction thriller that took the mismatched buddy cop concept and put an extraterrestrial spin on the formula to mixed results.
The original movie starred James Caan as a racist cop forced to team with a member of an alien race played by Mandy Patinkin, who looked unrecognizable in his liver-spotted bald wig. The visitors came on a ship carrying 300,000 enslaved aliens and when it crashes on Earth, the newcomers assimilate in the melting pot of California, mostly in Los Angeles. Graham Baker directed the film, which also spawned a short-lived 1989 TV series that ended after one season on Fox.
Nichols’ has dabbled in the sci-fi genre before with his critically acclaimed Midnight Special. And in the Deadline report, Michael Shannon’s name is suggested as a potential star for the new remake, based on the two’s collaborations in the past. If you can forgive him for his other alien performance in the dreadful Man of Steel, Shannon could really do something with the role of an alien who must assimilate into a new world. And considering how well they worked together in Midnight Special, one might imagine that Joel Edgerton would be a perfect fit for the Caan role, although it’d be nice to see Nichols break out and work with some new actors as well. We’ll have to wait to find out if Nichols even wants to take on the project, but it’s already one of the bigger deals to be buzzed about at Toronto.