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TIMELINE

About The Story
For director/producer Richard Donner and producer Lauren Shuler Donner, the decision to make a film version of Michael Crichton's best-selling novel Timeline was an easy one.

"Michael takes an impossible premise and makes it a very believable reality," says Richard Donner. "I've been wanting to do a project with him for over 20 years. and when Lauren and I read the galley proof of his book, we immediately committed to the project."

What made the idea of turning Crichton's book into a film that much more enticing was the author's clever spin on time travel.

"In writing the story. I envisioned a technology that would make it possible to convert people into information and send them through a very fine passageway in the universe called a wormhole," says Crichton. the Emmy-winning creator of the critically acclaimed TV series "ER." "In this way, I could tell the story of 21st century people encountering a time when there were knights in shining armor and damsels in distress.

Crichton adds that he wanted to illuminate the 14th century in a way that has never been done before. "I wanted to show how phenomenally colorful and romantic that period was. but I also wanted to show how phenomenally violent the times were and how people's lives were at risk every second."

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner found Crichton's premise extremely exciting. "Not only are these people endangered by the world they've been thrust into, but also they're in danger of never returning to the present." she points out.

In casting "Timeline." the filmmakers made a conscious decision that they didn't want a "superstar to overshadow the story. "Everyone clearly saw that the movie was the star in this case," explains Shuler Donner. "Still. we worked hard to find the best actors for the roles, allowing us to serve the story even further."

While each member of the cast has a respected body of work in his or her own right. the Donners' main goal was to create a true ensemble. Perhaps the most recognizable face in the cast is that of Paul Walker who portrays Chris. the Professor Johnston's son.

"Paul was just wonderful in ‘The Fast and the Furious,' and once Dick saw him in that he was instantly sold," recalls Shuler Donner. "He's an extremely charismatic actor."

Director Donner agrees: "Paul embodies the best qualities of actors like Steve McQueen and Mel Gibson. but he's still very much his own person. He's also genuinely interested in the process of making a film, and I found him to be a joy to be around."

For Walker. the decision to join the "Timeline" cast was an easy one. "I grew up on Dick Donner's movies," says the actor. "I've seen ‘The Goonies' probably 200 times and I also loved ‘Ladyhawke.' When I got the offer, there was no way I was going to refuse: first, to get the chance to work with Dick: and the bonus, to be in a film inspired by a Michael Crichton novel."

While Walker has portrayed more modern streetwise characters in his most recent films, he was delighted with the opportunity to travel back to the Middle Ages.

"When I was a kid, every stick was a sword, and I always dreamed of being a knight," remembers Walker. "That's why being on this set, around all these characters in full armor, is truly like going back in time for me. The only thing I was disappointed about was that all the extra

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