Following a pair of dystopian science-fiction misfires (“In Time,” “The Host”), writer-director Andrew Niccol is rebounding by returning to the socially-conscious dramas that put his name on the map with films such as “The Truman Show,” “Gattaca,” and “Lord of War.” In the modern war drama “Good Kill,” the 50-year-old filmmaker reunites with star Ethan Hawke for the timely story about a morally-plagued drone operator balancing the war on terror with his suburban family.
The official synopsis out of the Toronto International Film Festival reads: “A Las Vegas-based fighter pilot turned drone pilot fights the Taliban by remote control for 12 hours a day, then goes home to the suburbs and feuds with his wife and kids for the other 12. But the pilot is starting to question the mission. Is he creating more terrorists than he’s killing? Or is he fighting a war without end?”
Costarring January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Jake Abel and Bruce Greenwood, the film premiered in competition for the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival and landed a spot at the Special Presentation section of TIFF.
Check out a few clips from Niccol and Hawke’s TIFF Talk below:
On “Top Gun” and Family Influences
Hawke’s grandfather was a World War II fighter pilot, and the actor channeled his family history and drew from Tony Scott’s iconic 1986 action-drama to help explore the moral state of his “Good Kill” character.
On Drone Strike Research and Jargon
Niccol looked to Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks and the lingo of drone operators to ground “Good Kill” in as much authenticity as possible.
On Directing “Seymour: An Introduction”
Hawke is pulling double duty on the fall festival circuit with his feature length directorial debut, “Seymour: An Introduction.” The critically acclaimed documentary examines 87-year-old piano teacher and protege Seymour Bernstein.
On the Challenges of Filmmaking in Contemporary Hollywood
Hawke reflects on why a risky film like “Gattaca” would have trouble finding studio funding in present day Hollywood.