The Version Interview... Abigail Spencer on E4's Timeless

Timeless, created by Eric Kripke (Revolution, Supernatural), Shawn Ryan (The Shield) and the producers of The Blacklist, follows a group of unlikely heroes thrust into the adventure of their lives. Chasing a mysterious group of criminals through time and encountering some of the most seminal moments in history, the group attempts to thwart a dark conspiracy that is a threat to all of humanity. The drama stars Abigail Spencer (Rectify), Matt Lanter (90210), Malcolm Barrett (Hurt Locker), Goran Visnjic (ER), Sakina Jaffrey (The Mindy Project), Paterson Joseph (The Leftovers), Susanna Thompson (Arrow) and Claudia Doumit (Scandal). The series debuted very strongly on NBC earlier this month has been acquired by over 80 countries worldwide.

 

How do you describe Timeless to someone who has not seen it?

AS: The broad strokes: It is a fun, action, adventure, historical drama that the whole family can watch. It is wholesome so not excluding to anyone, but sophisticated. I showed it to my 7-year-old son. (He said): “Mommy, what’s going to happen?” He was learning about the Hindenburg in school.

Are you learning a lot doing this show?

AS: I learned so much about The Hindenburg. In the second episode we went to 1865, the night Lincoln was killed. He was supposed to be one of four. They were also supposed to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward and (General Ulysses S.) Grant.

How historically accurate are the scenarios?

AS: Twenty percent is created to tell the story. There will be a blog to accompany the show, to check historical facts. Lucy Preston is a history college professor, but she seems to know a tremendous amount about so many subjects. Is she more than histoy professor?

The audience is re-experiencing history with someone who is so passionate about it. Her intellect is her super power.

In some ways, it is a period piece, what is that like?

It is different from shows like “Mad Men.” It is of that time but it is a contemporary woman going back in that time, putting on the cloak of that era. She has to guide Rufus and Wyatt to Flynn, this antagonist. Why is he trying to change history in the first place?

In Hollywood, there was the first African-American president before it happened in real life, with your character in charge, how important could that be? Will it lead to change for strong women?

Sometimes if we fictionalize it, people can get behind making it real, if they promote that kind of change. I did the pilot for “Timeless” and the fourth season for “Rectify.”

When I was making decisions (about upcoming projects), I wasn’t seeing Lucy in other films. There are a lot of different fashions and she leads with her mind and not just her body. I hope to be a part of that change.

She’s thinking about the world on a more elevated level. There really is something we can do with her.

What is your hope or goal for the show?

My hope is we learn something, can do something. The point of contention is: Should we change anything? Even a one minute change has some consequence for Lucy It brings up important questions : Is there pre-design? Free will? This choice over here affects the work over there.

Do you feel the pressure of getting certain ratings?

I’ve never been on a show that had a lot of ratings. We are doing our best to breathe life into it. I have no control over it. Here’s my face. I hope you like it.

 

Timeless continues on E4 on Wednesdays at 9pm.