The new sci fi series Timeless, written and produced by Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan, is an actor’s dream. On what show do you get to go back in time every episode to an iconic moment in history, in a life and death fight to save the world?
When a felon named Garcia Flynn (Goren Visnjic, ER, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine to go back in the past in order to change the future, three mismatched people are brought together as a team to save the planet. They are a history professor named Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer, True Detective, Retify), a soldier called Wyatt Logan (Matt Lanter, 90210, Commander-in-Chief) and a scientist named Rufus Carlin (Malcolm Barrett, The Hurt Locker, Dear White People). Forced to use the prototype for Flynn’s time machine, they must keep one step ahead of him in order to save humanity.
The cast, Matt Lanter, Abigail Spencer and Malcolm Barrett, came to the TV Critics Association tour. They talked with the journalists about their new series. Timeless premieres today Monday, October 3rd 2016.
Can the three of you talk a little about what they told you about your characters’ backstories?
Abigail Spencer: As far as backstory goes we’ve talked at length about who Lucy is. It’s very interesting for me to play someone who wakes up in another reality. But what I’m most interested in is the mystery that’s going to be revealed over time, so we’re keeping some things close to the vest.
Hopefully, Lucy, through her knowledge of history, through her family, will be a conduit into the story from the character perspective.
We’re shooting right now the 1865 episode, and I am in the most glorious getup of all time with the hoop skirts and the pantaloons and the corsets. And then on Friday I’m going to be in the 1960s wear. So it’s really been a beautiful process.
Eric and Shawn said, “You will never be bored.” And as an actor, that is such a delicious treat.
Matt Lanter: As far as Wyatt’s backstory, we have talked a bit about what motivates him and events that have happened in his life, which we touched on in the pilot.
He’s lost his wife. You’re going to see that come into play a lot more throughout the [series]. A big thing for Wyatt, is what is meant to be and what things you can change, which I think we can all relate to.
I think Wyatt has regrets, whereas Lucy is little bit more, ‘This is how things are supposed to be. This is history, we need to keep it.’ I think Wyatt, even though he’s mission-oriented, being military, he’s going to struggle with that within himself.
Do I follow this mission, or do I deviate from the mission and do what I believe in my heart (and fix history)?
Wyatt and Lucy conflict
Abigail: There’s going to be a continual conflict between Wyatt and Lucy’s point-of- view about should history change. Should we touch it at all? Or were things all meant to be the way they were supposed to be and that shift in point-of-view between the two characters.
Matt: I think the audience can hop on that with us. I think everyone is going to have their different opinion whether we should keep it as is, or should we change certain things for the better.
Malcolm’s character, Rufus, backstory
Malcolm Barrett: Rufus is this kid from the West Side of Chicago who is also a scientist. Who has had expectations about him and connotations perceived about him, and having to defy those expectations.
And me, being a kid from Bed-Study who went to a math and science high school and who’s played a lot of scientific characters, I very much relate to that.
I very much relate to people thinking they know who you are and have some expectations about who you are. [About] being able to defy them and be more than one type of person. You change and evolve.
My character doesn’t want to even leave his desk when we first meet him. He’s forced to go back in time and do these missions and meet these brand?new people. I think the ‘in’ that the audience has with me is I represent the more everyman character for them.
Even though I am a genius within the world, I’m also one that doesn’t want to leave or go anywhere. [However he] is suddenly thrust upon these amazing, epic adventures that he never expected or wanted to be a part of.