Turns out there's room for more than one good chick flick at the box office. Debuting with $19 million this weekend, even with Julie & Julia drawing in audiences, The Time Traveler's Wife proved that, especially in the heat of August, lots of people are in the mood for a good cry.
A few weeks ago I got a chance to talk to the movie's stars, Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, about waiting for the film to be released, their feelings on time travel and destiny, and whether or not they can cry in a movie they're part of. Check out the roundtable interview below.
If you could time travel where would you want to travel to?
Bana: I think the '50's. I think you always want to go somewhere that sounds more magical before you were born.
McAdams: Yeah, that's true, going back to the "good old days." I'd like to see my parents fall in love. I think that would be fun.
How different is the script from the book? I was curious to know why it's called 'The Time Traveler's Wife' when it's really more about the Time Traveler's story.
Bana: Well, it's kind of about both of them. I think the core of the book is most definitely there in our screenplay and in the film. I think all the major players involved identify the key element which is this impossible love between two people that get wrenched apart by this time traveling device. So I think the core of the book is there.
McAdams: In terms of the wife thing, I think Robert [Schwentke] had a theory that his wife is actually time. I don't know if Audrey [Niffenegger, the author], if that was her intention or not. I'm not sure if she's spoken on that, but I think that's one of Robert's theories.
It's taken a while to get this film released. Can you talk about waiting for this to finally come out?
Bana: Actually, it's not that big of a deal for me really because I think it's just becoming more normal for anything that's not a tentpole. This film never had another release date announced. It's not a film where you can just kind of whack anywhere in the year. Then there was the New Line/Warner Brothers merger which was a huge factor as well. The film turned out exactly how it was always meant to.
Eric, wasn't there some delay because of your hair?
McAdams: [laughs] I retract. I retract. We had to wait for the meadow to grow, too, not just your hair.
What did happen?
Bana: It's not that anything happened, but we had some stuff that we had to shoot that was not time sensitive. I was bald and I said, 'Does it matter if we wait until my hair grows so that I don't have to wear a wig.' They said, 'Yeah, that's not a problem.' We didn't have to wait that long. Luckily, this stuff grows really fast. We flew back to Toronto and did what we had to do and that was it.
And the meadow?
McAdams: Well, it was a different time of year when we went back to it.
Bana: Yeah, and we shot in that actual meadow at different times of the yea. It was a pretty amazing place. I don't know if you heard Rachel tell the story but it's a real meadow that this guy built for his wife. So he kind of raised the bar of romantic expectations..
Did either of you work with the idea that the time travel device was a metaphor for something in the relationship or did you let it be what it was?
McAdams: I think it was really important to root it into something that we could relate it to and that the audience could relate to and not this sort of intangible thing or this fantastical concept. So that's something that we spent a lot of time talking about in the rehearsal process, talking about longing and waiting and separation and how that obstacle is so relevant to so many relationships and that so many people are overcoming that everyday.
What were the specific challenges in this film?
McAdams: Well, the adaptation was obviously a challenge. You know that you're going to be playing someone that people have cast in their head a certain way, and how do you meld their idea with yours and the authors and the screenwriters and the director's? But at a certain point you just have to give over and fall into it.
A lot of the movie seems to be about love and destiny. Your character says she's been waiting for him all her life. Is that something that you personally believe in?
McAdams: I like your answer on this one.
Bana: I forgot my answer. Give the best version of it.
McAdams: Half and half, that you believe it's destiny and free will or am I wrong? Am I misquoting you?
Bana: No. It sounds good so far. Keep going.
McAdams: I thought that was a great answer, that you believe things do happen for a reason and at the same time you can't just sit back and let it all wash over you.
Bana: Yeah. I guess you have to be proactive about your destiny and then realize that the other half of it is completely out of your control.
Did either of your cry while watching the movie?
Bana: I probably need to see it properly. I'm not good the first time I watch a movie. I usually watch it once with an audience and then I don't see it again. This was a hard one for me to watch for the first time because there was so much that I was looking for. So I'll probably watch it as a proper audience member the next time around but I was definitely moved.
McAdams: Well, my copy said, copyright Warner Brothers, said you will be seriously persecuted and thrown in jail forever if anyone gets a hold of this. Rachel McAdams. [laughs] So I didn't get completely carried away.