THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE (2009)
Around the time The Last Mimzy came out, I was hired to adapt The Time Traveler’s Wife for New Line. I had read the novel in 2003 and loved it. When I heard that New Line had acquired the rights, I called Bob Shaye immediately and said I wanted to write it. It was the only job I ever pursued. He got me together with the producers at Plan B, who loved my take on the script, and I was certain that I had my next assignment. Then they hired someone else.
Years later, Blanche, Josh, Ari and I were on vacation in Costa Rica, and I got a call from a young Hollywood director named Robert Schwentke. He asked if I would be interested in re-writing The Time Traveler’s Wife. I was amazed that this project had come back to me. It felt like fate.
Robert said that the other writer's script had failed to come together the way he wanted it to. I was not surprised. It was a hard script to write because the element of time travel created a nonlinear narrative that was very difficult to follow and get invested in. I had a very simple solution to that problem: Follow the love story, follow the heart. Nothing else mattered. The script wrote itself in three weeks. Robert and everyone at New Line loved it. It was positioned to go into production right away, a rare event in Hollywood.
The Time Traveler’s Wife lost some of its magic with a series of re-writes. I had tried to give the story a spiritual underpinning by using the idea of time travel to explore timelessness. I wondered, If we’re not rooted in time, where do we exist? I really liked the idea that the hero’s daughter was starting to time travel, showing us where the human race might go spiritually—suggesting that, one day, we might be freed from the constraints of time and space.
Of course, those kinds of metaphysical ideas have been taken out of nearly every movie I’ve written. This one was no different. As a result, I don’t think the finished film is as vital as what I wrote. Still, it had the emotional resonance I had hoped for. At the end, I cried.