Jeff Nichols is a favorite here at BMD. Shotgun Stories. Take Shelter. Mud. Midnight Special. He's batting 1.000 as far as we're concerned.
But what's up with his Alien Nation remake? Nichols signed on to the sci-fi redux back in 2016, and we haven't heard a whole lot about the project since. While speaking with /Film, Nichols went into depth about where he is in the process of bringing a new version of the '80s cult classic movie/TV series to today's audiences:
"So I’ve been working on Alien Nation like for two years, the screenplay. And I’m still … I’m almost done with it. I’m hoping this draft that I’m working on now will be my last. The studio seems to really love it, and we’re working on conception design of the aliens and everything else, and it happens to be a studio that’s being bought by Disney right now..."
But what does his version of Nation feel like?
"It’s epic. I mean, it’s the biggest canvas I’ve ever painted on, but it 100 percent feels like a Jeff Nichols film, which I’m sure there are gonna be some Alien Nation fans out there that are like, 'What the fuck?' But my hope is...if people come to it just ready for a new story, that they’ll like it. And I put my heart and soul into it. To be the project that’s supposed to be me being a sell out, it is like the least … I’m not saying that to save face or be cool. I put so much of myself into it, it takes place in Arkansas. There’s so much of me in it."
Well, I have to admit to being slightly perplexed about the original's "L.A. buddy cop" formula being transplanted into the Deep South, though if it were set anywhere else, it probably wouldn't qualify as a "Jeff Nichols Movie". Unfortunately, the writer/director is somewhat nervous that the project won't survive the upcoming Disney/Fox merger:
"I’m working with Fox on it, so it feels a little bit like you’re one of those monks doing those giant murals in sand. It might just blow away, which would be a real shame, but everybody at Fox has been so good to me about it. And they’re so positive about it, obviously I’m trying to stay in the positive zone, and hopefully knock out this last draft."
So, there you go. Jeff Nichols is most definitely still working on his iteration of Alien Nation...that we may still never see thanks to corporate shenanigans. Guess we'll just have to keep an eye on this one as the monolithic joining of forces goes down, swallowing whole more than a few fascinating projects with it.