Paul Walker stars in Paramount Pictures’ Timeline, based on Michael Crichton’s novel about a group of historians who can enter, literally, life in fourteenth-century feudal France. They are after Professor Edward Johnston, who was sent back in time and is now trapped in a French vs. English feudal war. Johnston’s loyal students have to survive one of the most violent battles in world history, and make it back to the 21st century alive.
It’s not a movie you can easily analyze, says Walker. “You over-think it and you drive yourself insane. Gerard Butler went there and he’s bananas to begin with. He really went bananas, and I mean that in the nicest way. You can’t over-think it. I couldn’t anyways.” He added that he didn’t read Crichton’s book before shooting the film. “I didn’t read it until we finished production.”
We asked Walker what attracted him to the project and what audiences will enjoy. “I have this fascination with the medieval period. I grew up where the trash can lid was a shield and a stick was a sword. To be honest with you the science fiction aspect, I don’t really care. That’s not what fascinates me. To some people science fiction – that whole thing, time travel, wormholes – that’s what they love. I like to think between science fiction and a more kind of epic warring type of stuff – if you’re into either of those go see this movie. We got both.”
A lot of the production concentrated on medieval times, but what did Paul think those times were like? “We think of the Black Plague and stench and women with hairy legs and the drinking water was probably not too clean. There were no toilets, I hope they had a shovel. The thing that’s so cool was it was just so raw. There were no real rules. Everyone acted on their own accord and the guys that were really cool were the knights. Maybe it was an innate thing but they were good people and they lived by this code of honor and you have this chivalry. That stuff’s just awesome.”
While he passed up the role of Superman in Warner Bros.’ new comic book adaptation, he did take on a role in Into the Blue for director John Stockwell. The action-thriller-drama centers on a treasure-hunting couple who uncover a plane wreckage containing illegal cargo and become entangled with a drug lord.
“Basically I’m this guy who has been chasing this dream for a long time,” he says about the project. “I think there’s a lot of similarities between us. He loves the ocean, he loves the element and he can’t think of doing anything else. He loves Indiana Jones, I’m convinced this guy’s crazy about Indiana Jones and he’s nuts about Jacque Cousteau just like I am. Here he is, he’s still a diver and he’s 30 years old and he’s just hoping that one day he will stumble into the lottery, the lottery being some sunken treasure. He’s been holding out his whole life and he’s got this girl he’s absolutely crazy about, who’s played by Jessica Alba. That’s him.”
See Paul Walker become history in Timeline, opening on Wednesday, November 26.