Everything old is new again, and that includes science fiction parables about racism that we haven't seen in a quarter century. Alien Nation is coming back to the big screen, but they've found the perfect, if not necessarily obvious, director. The man at the helm will be Jeff Nichols, whose next movie will also deal with racism, but in a more overt sense.
Jeff Nichols will premiere Loving at the Toronto Film Festival this weekend, where our own Sean O'Connell is currently checking out everything that's new and exciting. That film deals with the couple whose marriage led to the Supreme Court decision which made laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional. While that story is a bit more dramatic, it's certainly got some thematic similarities with 1988s Alien Nation.
Alien Nation originally starred Mandy Patinkin and James Caan as police officers in a future where an alien race had come to earth and had integrated among humanity. Patinkin played the alien, while Caan played a human cop with some serious prejudices against his new partner. According to Deadline, Jeff Nichols will write as well as direct the new film. Iron Man writers Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were hired previously to pen a script for an Alien Nation remake. It appears that whatever work they have done is being discarded and the movie is starting from scratch.
Alien Nation was a solid science fiction film in its day that spawned a TV series in 1989, on the, then, still very new Fox TV network. The show was fairly successful but due to the fact that the new network wasn't bringing in advertising revenue at a necessary level, the series was canceled.
With racial politics being, once again, front and center, it's as good a time as any to bring back a story like Alien Nation. Science fiction is at its best when it can be used to tell us something about our modern life. The message behind Alien Nation isn't subtle, but sometimes, when that message can be couched in something a little different, it resonates better. Also, it was a fairly solid sci-fi buddy cop movie.
Would you like to see a modern remake of Alien Nation? No potential cast was announced, though Deadline does mention that Michael Shannon is one of Jeff Nichols most frequent collaborators. Would you rather see him as the human or alien role of the pair? Let us know your thoughts on Alien Nation in the comments below.