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Look out for more coverage of
Timeline in our magazines

THE MOVIE: Timeline

THE STARS:
Paul Walker • Frances O’Connor • Gerard Butler
• Billy Connolly
DIRECTOR: Richard Donner

Kate Ericson (Frances O’Connor), Chris Johnston (Paul Walker), Professor Johnston (Billy Connolly) THE CONCEPT:
Based on Michael Crichton’s book, a movie about a group of student archeologists who must travel back in Time to the 14th Century in order to save their professor who is trapped there.

U.S. RELEASE: November 26 2003, Nationwide
• Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

PAUL WALKER (Chris Johnston):
“I didn’t get to do any of the sword fighting. Gerry (Butler) got to do some of that, not near as much as I think he originally anticipated. Originally the script was written to where Gerry’s character, Marek, was a real bad-ass, like he was in the novel. So when he went back into time, he was just busting all these guys, but Richard Donner said, ‘It’s not real. You’re an archeologist first and foremost, you weren’t born with a sword in your hand.’ I think that was the better way of doing it, I think it just makes more sense.”

FRANCES O’CONNOR (Kate):
“Richard puts really assertive women in all his films, they are very active, and I knew that signing on that I would never be [a damsel in distress]. He doesn’t like those kinds of women, I don’t think.”

GERARD BUTLER (Andre Marek):
“What I really loved about this story is that it strips away what everyone thinks they know in an academic sense. It’s one thing to be a man lecturing about what he thinks he knows about a past society, but it’s a very different reality to be that same man standing next to someone who just had his head chopped off. It’s startling. You quickly realize that the sword in your hand is not just to mess around with. If you make one wrong move in this time period, your life is over.”

BILLY CONNOLLY (Professor Johnston):
“When I went to see Richard Donner about playing the professor, I had a purple beard. I had dyed it purple just for a laugh, as one does. I had it green first, but it looked as if I’d spilled spinach on it. I’m so gray that it gets a bit dull sometimes, I look in the mirror and I look as if I’m about to rain, I’m so overcast! So I dyed my beard purple.”

IF THEY COULD, WHAT TIME PERIOD WOULD THEY LIKE TO VISIT? CONNOLLY:
“I’d go to the 20’s or 30’s. I like the style of music, I like the clothes and the cars with the rumble seats. I’d like to see the east coast of America at that time. I’d like to see New York coming to life, becoming New York, with the tall buildings.”

O’CONNOR:
“I think I would like to go into the future rather than go back. With the past, we know what it was about generally, but it would be interesting to imagine what it would be like in the future now, especially as there are so many permutations of what could actually happen.”

WALKER:
“This is the time period for me. I really like the medieval period, but from the time I was a little kid, this has always been one of the most fascinating periods for me. I think the future’s pretty scary, so I try not to think about it.”

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

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Images above © Paramount Pictures
Feature © 2003 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, #638, December 2003 cover

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