Take a glance at Andrew Niccol's body of work, and it becomes apparent that the filmmaker is interested in exploring otherworldly realities.
The first movie he wrote and directed, 1997's "Gattaca," presented a society in which children are born with only their parents' strongest hereditary traits — creating an environment in which people are judged by their gene pools. A few years later, he made "S1m0ne," a 2002 film about a computer-generated woman who becomes a famous actress.
Now comes "In Time," the director's latest project with fantastical themes. The movie, out on Oct. 28, is set in a world where everyone's biological clock stops at age 25. Here, time is the currency — the wealthy can live infinitely, while the poor must work for — or steal — enough minutes just to survive the day.
But Niccol, 47, insists he isn't as transfixed by science fiction as his resume might suggest.
"I never knew I was actually making science fiction, because it was always social science fiction. I was never so interested in the hardware. I was more interested in the humanity," he said recently via telephone amid cutting the final version of "In Time." "This story, most of all, is really about living in the present — the technology has just made the consequences even greater because you have a ticking clock that reminds you every moment of your mortality."