In this edition of INTERVUE, Lauren Cash interviews Andrew Niccol, the Director and Writer of the new warfare movie, Good Kill starring Ethan Hawke. Good Kill is based on the life of a drone pilot who is working on U.S soil but fighting the Taliban overseas through drone warfare. We see the depths of reality in the life and the head of drone pilots, as they kill many overseas and go home right after.
What sparked your interest in focusing on drone pilots for your film, Good Kill?
I was just interested that this was a completely new type of warfare. Completely schizophrenic were these guys fight the Taliban for twelve hours a day and then go home to the wife and kids. It has just never happened before where soldiers had no time to decompress. I wondered what does it do to your psyche when it is war for twelve hours, home, and then repeat. How can you cope with that? That was what I was interested in.
How important was it for you to portray the personal life and the hardships of the pilots? You do this very well between January Jones and Ethan Hawke.
Guys like Ethan Hawke’s character who have PTSD, they mentally just shut down so he is emotionally, completely unavailable. She was acting up against a brick wall. She had to force a reaction out of him and normally Ethan is a really generous actor and help whoever is acting opposite him but his character wouldn’t allow that.
With such a heavy topic, did you as the director have to ever take a moment to regroup on your own terms?
When you make a really serious movie, I find that on set people actually, as a way to kind of stay sane, people goof around a lot more. People have to kind of remain a sense of humor. Zoe and Ethan were always kidding around.
What is the message that you hope to get across to your viewing audience?
It is up to the audience, I think, to make up their minds. I try to show both sides, because there are two sides to it. People call it the least worst option because of the drone program. It can be extremely precise. It is not like we are carpet-bombing people anymore. If you put a laser on that house, that house is going away. But you have to make sure that it is the right house.
Do you see another war movie in your future?
There is a famous quote by Plato who says, “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”
We never run out of them. In “Lord of War” that is kind of what I was dealing with there. This arm dealer knew he would never run out of wars because human beings are naturally violent.
We are, we love chaos don’t we?
Yes, exactly. There has never been a time in human history where there has been peace throughout the world.
This is your third movie with Ethan Hawke. Does it make it easier for you as a director?
Much easier. We almost have telepathy now. If I want to make an adjustment in what Ethan is doing, I’ll take a step to him and he will go, “No. No. I know what you are going to say.” And sure enough he will make the adjustment himself.
It is kind of spooky actually.
Did you have any type of military cooperation for your film?
I used former ex drone pilots to make an authentic film. It was very important.
This would be considered a timepiece actually?
Yes, indeed it really is because it is set in 2010
Would you consider yourself more of a sci-fi, futuristic type guy?
You know, I didn’t realize I was doing that. When I made “The Truman Show”, I went into one of these things that were around called video stores. I saw it in the Science Fiction section and then I would see it in the drama section. Somewhere I saw it in comedy so I have no idea.
Well brilliant minds don’t need a label.
Thank you Andrew Niccol for the interview on your new movie starting Ethan Hawke, January Jones, and Zoe Kravitz. GOOD KILL hits limited theatres May 15, 2015 – Opens in DC This Friday !