On Gattaca and In Time

Andrew Niccol is the writer/director of the under-rated sci-fi film, Gattaca, which starred Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, and gave a great early role to Jude Law, along with the writer of The Truman Show.

Now Niccol is back with In Time, starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried, and it’s generating some good early buzz.

In Time is a similar idea to Logan’s Run, which will soon be remade with Ryan Gosling as Logan. In the future, you stop aging at 25, and you have to work to buy more time for your life. And like the Sandmen in Logan’s Run, there’s a corrupt police force Timberlake has to fight. 

In addition to In Time, Niccol is also slated to write and direct an adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer novel, The Host, which is due for release in early 2013.

Niccol’s previous films, like any good sci-fi, felt prophetic, especially The Truman Show, which came out right before the explosion of reality TV.

“At the time, I thought I was exaggerating and it would never get to that point,” said Niccol. 

”But as time marches on, you can almost imagine you can take a child from a third world country, start documenting his life, and with all the reality shows on TV, people would go along with it.”

Niccol’s film 2001 film Simone, which he wrote and directed, was about a computer generated actress that becomes the hottest thing in Hollywood, and it was especially prophetic considering now there’s talk of a motion capture actor, Andy Sirkis, finally being eligible for an Academy Award. 

As a critic once noted of Niccol’s work, his films “border on science fiction, but are close enough to the possible to be uncomfortably, eerily, real.”

Niccol also doesn’t date his films – In Time doesn’t have an exact year –  and a good example of this can be found in River Road, an un-produced script he had at New Line, where the story was set “Ten years in the future? Ten years in the past? With the worlds nations in such different stages of development, it could be present day.”

Niccol has always used a minimalist approach with his films, where he leans more on concepts and ideas than hardware. 

“Sometimes the look of the films hopefully comes out of the ideas,” he says. 

”It is form following function. I couldn’t afford to design a future in Gattaca, so I had to drag a lot of the past and the present into the future with me. And I’m glad in a way because it made the film, and the issues it dealt with, feel more relevant.”