The cast of NBC’s Timeless was just beginning production on their second episode of the series when they appeared at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con to discuss the sci-fi action/drama. Goran Visnjic, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett joined the the show’s creators Eric Kripke (Supernatural) and Shawn Ryan (The Shield) for a panel to talk about the series which will be part of NBC’s primetime lineup beginning October 3, 2016. Visnjic, Lanter, and Barrett also sat down for interviews in which they provided details on their characters and why they were drawn to Timeless in the first place.
The Plot: Timeless is an action-adventure series in which a mysterious criminal steals a secret state-of-the-art time machine, intent on destroying America as we know it by changing the past. Our only hope is an unexpected team: Rufus (Barrett), a scientist; Wyatt (Lanter), a soldier; and Lucy (Abigail Spencer), a history professor, all of who must use the machine’s prototype to travel back in time to critical events. While they must make every effort not to affect the past themselves, they must also stay one step ahead of Flynn (Višnjić), a dangerous fugitive. But can this handpicked team uncover the mystery behind it all and end his destruction before it’s too late?
Goran Visnjic, Matt Lanter, and Malcolm Barrett Interview:
What attracted you to the series?
Goran Visnjic: “In my case, first I read the script. It was really quick phone call – I live out of town so I was driving to town and I got a call from Shawn and Eric, ‘Would you please it? We need an answer kind of quickly.’ I knew who they are and I’m like, ‘A time travel script from these two?’ So I hurried up and I parked the car and started reading it. I called my agent and I was like, ‘This sounds really cool but I would need to know some details. Can we meet?’ We met and we spoke, and it was kind of for me to trust them a lot because the pilot I had literally one scene. And now during the second episode that we’re shooting, the Abraham Lincoln assassination, I’m seeing all these things that they said they’re going to do and it’s still the same scale as the pilot. We’re doing a replica of Ford’s Theatre.”
Matt Lanter: “It’s practically built out.”
Goran Visnjic: “If you see The Shield and if you see Supernatural, imagine that the creators of these two shows are doing a script about time travel. Let your imagination run, and that’s what we have here. And we have a nice budget, too. I don’t want for this to sound egotistical or something, but I think we’re here to stay at least to give an audience a big chunk of episodes that they can be, ‘Wow, we got something really good.’ It’s not like they’re going to pull the plug out after five or six episodes.”
You are only two episodes deep in this but it seems like there’s a secondary mission to restore the timeline after the pilot episode. What is the motivation for your character: pursue the mission and get the guy who’s destroying the timeline or restore the timeline to what it was?
Matt Lanter: “I think each of us sort of have different motivations. I think naturally Lucy the historian wants to strictly preserve history but we see very quickly that there are now personal ramifications that now happen because of small changes. For myself, we find out in the pilot that his wife has died and I think it’s obviously not too bold to say that that’s going to come into play, which is a direct contrast to who he is. He’s mission-oriented. That’s what he’s done for a long time now. He’s extremely mission-oriented and that’s what he’s used to. I think when you have a character that’s battling with himself or herself against a thing that he believes in, that’s when interesting things happen. It’s happening for each of us.”
How much do you already know about your character’s backstory?
Malcolm Barrett: “We have tidbits of our characters. We all do our work and we know who we are, but we’re all sort of hiding something. Some of the things we know, some of the things as actors we kind of don’t know about each other and kind of do, so we’re all are people that have motivations that aren’t necessarily on the surface. We all are hiding things from each other.
I’m sort of working for this company that built the time machine, and that company has all these big inner workings that are going on with it that the rest of the characters don’t necessarily know and I may have some ideas about. So we’re all sort of keeping secrets from each other. That’s the other part of the story is us having early secrets and learning to trust each other and finding out which things are going to affect us the most.”
Do you have a favorite criminal you hope is featured in an episode of the series?
Matt Lanter: “I hope they interact with Bonnie and Clyde.”
Malcolm Barrett: “D.B. Cooper, and they’ve closed that case now. They’ve closed the case on D.B. Cooper so that’d be interesting.”
Watch the full interview with Goran Visnjic, Malcolm Barrett, and Matt Lanter as well as our interview with co-showrunners, writers and executive producers Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan: