At the age of 21, Tim Lake (Domhnall Gleeson) discovers he can travel in time…
The night after another usual New Year party, Tim’s father (Bill Nighy) tells his son a family secret, that the men in his family have always had the ability to travel through time. Tim can’t change history, but he can change what happens and has happened in his own life—so he decides to make his world a better place…by getting a girlfriend. Moving from the Cornwall coast to London to train as a lawyer, Tim finally meets the beautiful but insecure Mary (Rachel McAdams). They fall in love, then an unfortunate time-travel incident means he’s never met her at all. So they meet for the first time again—and again—but finally, after a lot of cunning time-traveling, he wins her heart.
The minute About Time begins, audiences see Tim as a normal fellow. He’s a slightly confused, but very likeable hero, who is going through his life with the same level of confidence the majority of ordinary people can muster. “You love Tim’s character from the beginning,” reflects producer Kentish Barnes. “You want him to succeed when he meets the love of his life.”
When Gleeson first read the script, he laughed aloud, which he took as quite the promising sign. Reflects the performer: “It was sweet relief reading the script. It had so much to say about a way of living your life that I found valuable and beautiful. That was Richard’s (Curtis) introduction to the film for me, and that was what I tried to keep close to my heart while we filmed.”
With Gleeson onboard the production, filmmakers moved forward in casting the role of Mary, the young American woman with whom Tim falls in love, marries and starts a family. Because of Rachel McAdams’ busy schedule, the filmmakers weren’t certain she would be able to join the production. Little did they know, however, that she absolutely adored the script.
Curtis was thrilled that an actress of McAdams’ calibre had signed onto the film. He muses: “Rachel is someone, who every time I’ve seen her in a film, I have melted with this sense of comfort and love. We were certainly lucky to get her.”
Producer Tim Bevan agrees that McAdams was absolutely perfect for the role, commending, “Rachel has that great girl-next-door quality. She has the beauty, the humour and the wit, but she also has the ability as an actress to make whomever she is playing against look equally as great.”
McAdams recalls what drew her to the part: “I enjoyed the script immensely and loved what it was about. It was quite moving with a very simple, but so meaningful moral of the story, and I loved all the characters. I knew that signing onto a Richard Curtis film was just a good package deal; he does these things so well. He is very generous with his spirit and brings so much of himself to the project.”
The performer appreciated that the expatriate was as complex as her on-screen love, sharing, “Mary’s got this funny mix of confidence and total insecurity. But then she meets Tim, and she just blossoms. He ushers her in the direction she was meant to go in, and the puzzle pieces fit, finally.”
For the seasoned young performer, working with Gleeson was a surprising joy. She enthuses: “It’s been wonderful to watch Domhnall transform from the younger Tim to the older Tim. He has this endless energy for physical comedy, and his comedic timing is impeccable. He always seems to find humour. Domhnall is so grounded, so rooted in the character, and he makes everything matter.”
Her leading man, Gleeson, returns the kind words: “Rachel brings this gorgeous honesty to her character. She’s very funny, and she brings something that is pure and uncomplicated in the best possible sense. It was joyous being on set with her all the time.”
In casting the role of Tim’s Dad, filmmakers turned to a veteran of Curtis’s films: much-feted performer Bill Nighy, first introduced in a Curtis’s role as a washed-up rocker in Love Actually. “Tim’s Dad is a strange synthesis of a lot of people I’ve met,” explains Curtis. “There’s a lot of my feeling about my father in the role, and it was a fun idea to have Bill play the part. To cast a friend you actually love in that part was a great pleasure.”
Summing up his take on this film, Gleeson says “ I think it’s about taking a minute or two every now and again to look around and appreciate the beauty there is in life – whether it’s in your relationship with somebody, whether it’s the way something sparkles in the sunshine or is reflected in the moonlight or a particularly gorgeous piece of music. Or it might be somebody doing something good for another person.It’s about how taking notice every now and again of the beautiful things in the world is a very important thing to do.”
Leading the cast of About Time are Rachel McAdams, Bill Nighy, Margot Robbie, Domhnall Gleeson, and Lydia Wilson.
About Time is a Universal Pictures presentation written and directed by Richard Curtis. It is distributed by United International Pictures through Solar Entertainment Corporation. Showing at your favorite theaters and cinemas this September 18.