Writer/director Andrew Niccol returns to the science-fiction genre – he so scrumptiously cut his teeth on a genre doozie years ago, “Gattaca” – with “In Time”, a high-concept thriller set in a future where the more money you have, the longer you get to live.
Hyla caught up with the filmmaker in Los Angeles.
What’s the possibility of this movie actually happening in real life? You have these cyber celebrity hackers actually happening, so it can actually happen on some levels, right?
Well, yeah, I understand there is a sort of a big brother element but for me it’s more about… The obsession with youth. I mean it’s, it’s kind of great that we shot the movie in Los Angeles which is the capital of staying young forever and I think it’s if we could switch off the aging gene we’d certainly will.
The movie seems very timely in terms of the whole Occupy Wall Street for some reason..
You’re the first person to say that. Right. But I knew it would happen [Laughs]. I’m a prophet. It wasn’t a leaping off point for me obviously for the movie, I wanted to write a thriller and I thought it was a great metaphor for living in the present, but as soon as you deny the decision that time is going to be currency then it should be a reflection of what’s happening today and obviously it is.
Why did you decide the age in the film would be 25?
I didn’t decide that, biology decided that, because that is the age when you stop fully developing. That’s when your frontal lobe finally fully develops. That’s why a rental car company in America won’t rent you a car until you’re 25. It’s because this lobe controls reckless behaviour and impulse and they don’t want to give you a car if you’re reckless. And that’s why you wouldn’t switch off the
I found myself drawing parallels to ”Gattaca”. I felt that there’s a similarity in the production design, in the future view and I wondered about access. That was about identity and this is about… Well, they’re parallel themes, I think. I wondered about that connection for you but also why in this future that has so much of the technology that we have, why aren’t there any cell phones or some of the other technology that especially young audiences would take for granted whether it’s an iPad or a cell phone or anything?
There are no bicycles either. No. [chuckle] No, I think the parallel with Gattaca is… When I was making that, I knew that the holy grail of genetic engineering was just switched off the aging gene but I just knew the implications are going to be so great that would have to be another movie. So that’s why it’s another movie. The cell phones, it’s a secret. I cannot tell you.
So in terms of inventions…
The invention of the body clock, we decided it would beat the death of all other invention. Because the poor have no time to create anything and the rich have no incentive because why do it now, I can do it in five years from now, I can do it in a hundred years from now. That’s why there’s no new app, no new science in the movie because of this clock. In fact, Amanda’s [Seyfried] character says it most beautifully when she says the poor die and the rich don’t live.