The Carroll News participated in a conference call with actors Johnny Weston, Sofia Black-D’Elia, Same Lerner, Allen Evangelista and Ginny Gardner on their experience working on Paramount Pictures’ “Project Almanac.”
“Project Almanac” follows a group of high school friends as they create a time machine and use it to undo the past while causing controversy in the future.
Q: In preparing for your character, did you draw anything from your personal high school experiences?
Johnny Weston: It’s funny because in high school, I was kind of a – well, I wasn’t a nerd by any means. What I really want to put in my character is not to just be a nerd or something. I wanted him to be somebody that someone can relate to. I think my character became addicted with the time machine and show how people can become addicted to anything in life.
Q: What was it like working with your producer, Michael Bay?
JW: Bay was like a father to all of us, watching over every single cut after the day it’s been filmed. You’re just comforted that you know this film isn’t going to turn out crappy. We knew that he was going to let us know what’s going right and what’s going wrong in order to make it an amazing film. This allowed all of us to rest and do our job without having to worry about the end product.
Ginny Garnder: Bay makes really incredible movies and I think that having his support on our movie really means a lot to us. I think we all knew that it was going to be a special movie because he was involved.
Sofia Black-D’Elia: We felt like we were the “little engine that could.” It was nice to know that Bay would always be there even if we didn’t see him on the set or have the chance to speak with him directly. We knew that he was always going to watch over the film in every way that he could and make sure that we got every chance to make it the best film it could be. We are all very grateful that he gave us this opportunity.
Q: What movies, be it time travel or another, do you think had the most influence on the film, like Chronicle or Primer?
SBD: We never tried to pretend like we are the first time travel movie that’s ever been made. What we’ve been smart about is acknowledging that the past is behind us and to embrace it, and we use this concept as a positive in our film. I think our film is quite different from Chronicle, a much darker film than ours. “Project Almanac” is kind of a fun ride for the most part. The film has a great group of friends with relationship stories more than anything else. I think we all wanted to make a very realistic look at a teenage love story and friendship.
Same Lerner: No doubt we’ll be compared to Chronicle because of the found footage aspect, but we are happy and honored to be compared to such a great movie. Other than the similarity with the found footage, the films really aren’t alike at all.
Q: Many of you have worked in television before. What’s the biggest routine difference when working on a feature film?
SBD: The biggest difference between working on a television experience and the film is that we don’t have as much time to get to know each other. On a television series, we typically have about five months to shoot a season, and on a film of this size you have about six or eight weeks. We are all put into this crazy situation together and you want to make the most and the best of our time. We have more freedom with the dialogue because, in television, by the time the script comes to you, it’s been through the network, the studio, and the writer’s room, so you can’t really change it too much. Our writers were really comfortable with us, rehearsing lines and allowing us to put our own twist on things to make it as real as possible. So, it was kind of a blessing in that way.
JW: If we ever made up a goofy, hilarious line, the writers would go home and write it in the script and then it would be there the next morning. That’s what is unique about making a film.
Q: What would you guys do if you had the ability to time travel?
JW: I would be completely selfish and go back in time, grab a baby velociraptor and raise it myself. I’m dead serious.
SBD: I would want to go back in time and relive the New York Giants beating the Green Bay Packers in 2008.
SL: I would either win the lottery and/or see Kobe Bryant score 81 points in 2006.
Allen Evangelista: I would love to go to every concert I ever wanted to go to.
GG: I would also win the lottery. Not very exciting. But if I could go to the future, I would love to go 100 years into the future to see what the world looks like then.
Q: How did you feel when the release date for the film was delayed?
JW: The issue with that was we saw the movie and then they had a planned release date for it. So, it was all set and they were willing to spend so much money on the publicity for it. Then, we went back and decided to shoot some more. After that, the movie became more complex than they had originally thought. They basically pushed it back so they had time to build a larger campaign for the film. It was an incredible feeling knowing that they delayed the release so they could create a proper campaign format for the film.
SBD: I think we are all excited that this movie is coming out at all and we can’t wait for people to see it and we are really proud of it. As actors, we’ll never understand the inner workings of that side of the job, but all we can do is say OK. It’s a very exciting time for all of us and we’re really looking forward to it.
Sam Lerner: We’re all just so happy that now it’s finally happening. It was a bummer at the time when we found out it was delayed, but we were hoping that it was because they had bigger plans for the film. Now, so many people are starting to get excited so we are just as excited, too.