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Writer-director Andrew Niccol broke through in 1997 with his feature debut Gattaca, a science fiction drama that starred Ethan Hawke as a genetically inferior man forced to masquerade to achieve his dream of space travel. The role continues to be one of the most noteworthy of Hawke's career, and so it should be little surprise that he and Niccol are looking to reteam for the filmmaker's next effort.

Deadline reports Niccol is in pre-production on his next feature, an untitled thriller, and Hawkes has entered into talks to star. Should he sign on, Hawke will play a former fighter pilot turned Las Vegas-based drone pilot. Half of his day is spent battling the Taliban via remote control, while the other half is spent arguing with his wife and kids in his suburban home. Amid all this fighting, this pilot begins to wonder if his mission is effectively eradicating terrorists, or just creating more in a vicious cycle without an end. If Hawkes commits to the project, this would be his third collaboration with Niccol, following Gattaca and the 2005 crime-drama Lord of War, in which Hawke co-starred with Nicolas Cage.

Niccol's brand of storytelling tend to offer wild narratives with an earnest social commentary, often commenting on how technological advancements are conflicting with human empathy. Aside from Gattaca, which criticized eugenics, Niccol has also created S1m0ne, a fantasy comedy fronted by Al Pacino that has a Hollywood producer build the perfect It girl from a computer simulation, and the Justin Timberlake-fronted thriller In Time, which showed a world where the desire to live forever young causes a gruesome class divide. He also scripted The Truman Show, the Jim Carrey dramedy that criticized reality TV voyeurism when it was still in its infancy.

While Niccol's concepts are frequently clever, his films don't often hit. Despite critical praise and the eventual appreciation Gattaca found among sci-fi fans, the $36 million movie made only $12 million in theaters. The $10 million S1m0ne did better at the box office, scoring in $19 million worldwide, but lost critics. Then the $50 million Lord of War garnered mixed to positive reviews, but flopped at the domestic box office pulling in less than half it's production budget, forgetting completely the cost of print and advertising. In Time scored big at the box office with $173 million worldwide. But both it and Niccol's 2013 adaptation of the Stephenie Meyer's book The Host earned critical scorn. Plus the latter flopped hard at the box office, making little more than its production budget with global returns.

Basically, Niccol is an interesting filmmaker, but not a consistent one. So it's hard to know what to expect from this untitled project. Production on this picture will begin in February, so updates on casting should follow in short order.