Traveling Companions: Q&A with Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana
SPECIAL OFFER: - Limited Time Only!
(The ad below will not display on your printed page)


Traveling Companions: Q&A with Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana

One of the summer's most anticipated movies is The Time Traveler's Wife. LHJ checked in with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, the film's stars, about this epic love story, the pressure of remaking a beloved novel, and their own time-traveling fantasies.

Based on Audrey Niffenegger's 2003 best seller, it follows a time traveler, Henry (Eric Bana), as he hops in and out of the life of his future wife, Clare (Rachel McAdams). "It's an intimate story, but it is also very challenging and gives you a lot to think about," says Bana. "It makes you feel lucky to be alive and lucky to be in love."

LHJ: While there is a very interesting supernatural component to this story, at its heart, it's about the strength of true love and its ability to endure when tested. What was it about this character and this script that appealed to you?

Rachel McAdams: The character of Clare was very detailed and so well thought out, and I love the relationship between her and Henry. Her greatest flaw is that she's hopelessly romantic, seeks out the extraordinary, and is in love with a time traveler.

Eric Bana: I thought it was a unique love story between Henry and Clare. Then there was the wonderful combination of working with Robert Schwentke (director) and Rachel McAdams. I have seen a lot of Robert's work and thought he was a really interesting director, both visually and stylistically. Rachel was attached to the film before me and I was a fan of her work and thought it would be great to do this project with her.

LHJ: Were you a fan of the book before you read the script?

RM: I read the book a few years ago and loved it. I knew when I was reading it that it was going to be a film, and I thought about the character of Clare a lot and what it would be like to play her, so when it came about, it was pretty exciting.

EB: I read the script before reading the book. After I met with Robert, and had a wonderful chat with him about the film, I was really excited and wanted to play Henry.

LHJ: What parts of the story can you relate to?

RM: I think on some level everyone can relate to this love story -- it's complicated and frustrating, but special.

EB: When I read the script and book, I felt the most important element was the relationship between Henry and Clare. They are an extremely intimate couple, and a lot of times that can be portrayed without having to be written, like how someone looks at another person or touches them.

Time and Again

LHJ: What was most challenging about this role for you?

RM: Clare struggles with fantasy versus reality when she finally meets Henry in real time. It's kind of complicated because she meets a different person than the man she originally fell in love with.

EB: Henry is a lot of different ages throughout the film. Essentially we tried to simplify it stylistically into two time periods -- before his life with Clare and after he's met her. I saw Henry as a complicated character, but at the same time, I wanted to keep it reasonably simple. The first Henry was a younger, carefree person who didn't really have to deal with the ramifications of his situation other than how it affected him. The older Henry was dealing with different moral issues and implications. He was a more mature person who was also wary of what the consequences would be of a personal relationship. To a degree, I wanted the audience to be able to see the Young Henry in the Old Henry and the Old Henry in the Young Henry.

LHJ: Audrey Niffenegger's book is so revered -- did you feel any added pressure to please the book's fans?

RM: What's great about the film being based on a book is you get some 400 pages of information about the character and it's all valuable. Robert's main focus with the film was Henry and Clare's relationship.

EB: I think it is really important to stay faithful to the intention of the source material.

LHJ: In the spirit of the film, if you had the ability to travel back in time, where would you go?

RM: I would like to go back to see what my parents were like when they were kids.

EB: This is a very easy question for me to answer. I race cars back home when I'm not shooting, and I'm a mad period racing enthusiast, so I feel like I was born about 20 or 30 years too late. So, I would like to be in my mid 20s and travel back to 1955 -- which was the greatest year for car design and motor racing -- and race against Stirling Moss.

Originally published on, July 2009.