Making the World a Better Place: Locations
About Time began its nine-week shoot in
June 2012, filming for three weeks in Cornwall,
five weeks on location in London and a week at
Originally, when Curtis penned the script, he
had Scotland in mind for the location of the Lake
family home. However, filmmakers did not have luck
securing a suitable house in that country, so they
moved along to Cornwall. Curtis and the producers
began to assemble a stellar below-the-line team to
bring their vision to life.
Production designer John Paul "JP" Kelly had
never worked with the writer/director before and was
pleased to find out the similarities between Curtis and
his films. Shares Kelly: "Richard believes the world
should be a better place, and this film is very much
about that. It's close to his mantra: If you look at the day the right way, you can make it a good day or one as
tough as you want. He has got an incredible positivity,
and he's very inclusive with his family and his work,
which is quite unusual."
Similarly, Kelly had a specific vision when
searching for the location, desiring a house that had
to be believable and complement the charm and
magic of the story. Curtis also had expectations. He
explains: "I wanted to be able to see the sea from the
window; this was very important. I had it in my mind
that when the dad was talking to his son you were
able to see the sea through the window."
About Time begins in the house in Cornwall where
Tim and his family have always lived. Reflects Curtis:
"Then it keeps returning there, as life does when you're
engaged, when you have a child, when people get sick.
The home symbolizes growing up, losing people and
The Lake home that the team discovered was a
privately owned 1850s house in Porthpean, with a
garden overlooking the sea and its own path down
to the beach. Truly, it could not have been a more
perfect location in which to incorporate Kelly and
Curtis' vision. The majority of the scenes including
the family were filmed at this home.
Other locations used by the production in
Cornwall were the fishing village of Portloe -- for the
exterior wedding scene and the sequence in which the
congregation travels up the country path in the storm;
St Michael Penkevil church, for the wedding scene; and
Vault Beach in Gorran Haven, for the simple moments
in which the family has its afternoon tea on the beach.
"Cornwall is the most wonderfully idiosyncratic,
welcoming place," enthuses the writer/director. "What
was great was that Cornwall turned out to have all the
qualities, both socially and visually, that I wanted from
the house, as well as the surrounding areas. It has its own
unique character and is a beautiful part of the country."
Prior to filming, Curtis took Gleeson and McAdams
to the restaurant Dans Le Noir in London, which is
where their characters meet for the very first time. The
restaurant is completely in the dark, and customers are
guided and served by blind staff. While an experience
for the senses, not all the patrons were thrilled. "I found it terrifying," recalls McAdams. "You don't
know where the exit is. You don't know what people
are doing around you, and you have no idea what's on
your plate. I brought that experience into the scene for
my character. Mary is not very comfortable and not
secure about the whole scenario. When she meets Tim,
he is a kind of rock, a beacon for her. She is grateful
to hit it off with another person and be able to rely on
someone in the dark."
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