If there’s one thing Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams appear to share, it’s timing.
As they let out a perfectly synchronized, off-screen chuckle — his, a guffaw, hers a dainty peal — you’re momentarily intoxicated by their chemistry.
And you almost forget their upcoming film, The Time Traveler’s Wife, opening opening next Friday, is a bittersweet saga of separation and longing, heavier on the tears than the laughs.
This month, the two breathe life into Audrey Niffenegger’s novel, chronicling the relationship between the ill-fated Henry (Bana) and his perseverant wife Clare (McAdams), as they struggle to keep their love afloat despite his unpredictable tendencies to shuffle frenetically between decades.
“I think it was really important to root (our performances) into something that we could relate to and not just this intangible thing,” shares McAdams.
“So we tried to step away from the ‘time travel’ of it all — though Eric can attest to a little bit of that, being from Australia,” she continues, mischievously glancing at her co-star, who admits that his trans-hemispheric flights home and regular bouts of jet lag certainly helped in prepping for Henry.
“It’s weird, but being an actor is perfect preparation for a character like this because there’s a lot of plugging in and plugging out,” Bana adds.
For Canadian actress McAdams, who fell head over heels for Niffenegger’s novel years ago, the role came with a fair share of trepidation. “We knew we were going to be playing characters that people had already cast in their head, but how do you meld their idea with yours?” she muses. “At a certain point, though you just have to fall into it.”
And then came the logistical hiccups. The crew waited on just about everything to grow — from the idyllic, Canadian meadow where some of the film’s key moments were shot, to Bana’s hair, which frequently served as an indicator for how old Henry was.
“I didn’t want to wear a wig,” confesses Bana, who was bald before filming began. “But luckily, this stuff grows really fast,” he claims, grinning, as he grabs a fistful of his dark locks.
In the spirit of time travel, the two even mulled over eras they’d wanted to be transported to, ala Henry. “The ’50s,” quips Bana, who carries a fascination for the decades before his birth. “I’d like to see my parents fall in love,” reveals McAdams. “And go back to the good old days.”
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