Now, when the script was originally written, it went out to companies without a title. Not that Andrew Niccol, the writer and the director was trying to be clever, he just couldn’t think of a proper title. While the film was being shot the title was The Eighth Day, which is a reference to the biblical story of creation…in six days God created the Earth and on the 7th day, God rested. It refers to the fact that man has extended the work begun by God and a new form of “engineered” human was being created in a laboratory. The title also refers to the history of molecular biology book of the same name written by Horace Judson in 1979.
When the film was going to be released, the name unfortunately was already taken by another film, so the producers had to change it and they came up with Gattaca. The name “Gattaca” is composed entirely of the letters used to label the nucleotide bases of DNA. The four nitrogen bases of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) are adenine, thymine, cytosine, and guanine. While it has been identified that “GATTACA” uses the 4 DNA nucleotide abbreviations of G,A,T,C, more specifically, when identifying genetic markers, the tests measure “short tandem repeats” at specific DNA marker locations. These are known as “GATA or CA” repeats – hence GATTACA.
Now, that’s a long-winded explanation on what is a fantastic science fiction film starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Ernest Borgnine, Gore Vidal, Maya Rudolph, Elias Koteas, Blair Underwood and excellent character actor Xander Berkeley. The first film directed by Andrew Niccol and released in 1997, it originally flopped. It found new life on video and DVD and soon drew in a cult following. Uma and Ethan met on the set and fell in love and got married soon after. The story is positioned in the not-too-distant future, where a less-than-perfect man wants to travel to the stars. Society has categorized Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) as less than suitable given his genetic make-up and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. To move ahead, he assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), a perfect genetic specimen who is a paraplegic as a result of a car accident. With professional advice, Vincent learns to deceive DNA and urine sample testing. Just when he is finally scheduled for a space mission, his program director is killed and the police begin an investigation, jeopardizing his secret.