The Tribeca Film Festival red carpet premiere of “Good Kill” carried a much more somber tone than the romantic comedies and star-studded dramas that preceded it. Ethan Hawke, January Jones and Zoe Kravitz each spoke about the difficulties of the movie’s serious message on drone warfare.
Based on a true story, “Good Kill” follows a veteran pilot (Hawke) grounded in Nevada and inducted into newly formed drone divisions. He’s not at peace with fighting “like a coward” and his tension at work spills over into his home with his wife (Jones). Director Andrew Niccol (“Gatta”) reteams with Hawke for an introspective look at the toll of war on the mind. It’s a further study into PTSD after last year’s wildly successful “American Sniper,” but the tone of “Good Kill” is much more straightforward in its doubt about the war and the ethics employed by the military. Even the trailer concludes with “Don’t ask me if it’s a just war. It’s just war.”
â€” Monica Castillo (@mcastimovies) April 20, 2015
Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”) discussed the drone warfare that affects his character, Tom Egan, in the movie at its Tribeca Film Festival premiere. He sympathizes with Tom, a pilot who was trained to be a F-16 fighter but is now forced into drone warfare.
“The advancements in drone technology have been amazing in the last few years," Hawke explained. "It’s an instrument in the tool box for the U.S. military. But no one’s really been asked to do this before, this remote controlled assassination. The human psyche has never dealt with that before.”
Hawke also feels a sense of responsibility to make movies like “Good Kill.” “I feel the job of the artistic community is to tell stories and start conversations,” he said. “The military has a real clear job of what they have to do. Part of our jobs as citizens is to pay attention to what we’re asking our children to do, what we’re asking our brothers and sisters to do. Most of us learn about war through books and movies, most of us don’t do it." Hawke continued, "There’s a certain obligation to the artistic community to tell these stories.”
"Mad Men" actress January Jones plays Tom’s wife, Molly, and shared a similar concern about drone warfare at the red carpet premiere. “I was excited telling a story that I thought was most important to tell. That’s what you hope to do as an artist when you take on a project.” Jones admitted she originally didn’t know much about drones prior to “Good Kill.” “I found greater empathy with people in the military, and people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.”
Co-star Zoe Kravitz (the upcoming “Dope”) fits the bill as Tom’s co-pilot in “Good Kill” and said the premise sounded like science fiction to her at first. “I felt like if I didn’t know about [the drone program], there’s definitely other people who don’t know a lot about it.”
“Good Kill” has a few more screenings left at the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs through April 26.
"Good Kill" opens in theaters May 15.