November 26, 2003
Another novel by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park) is brought to the silver screen. Paramount has given this film an $80 million budget, which is its normal maximum. They plan to use this as one of their big blockbusters for summer 2003. Among the stars brought together for this project are Marton Csokas (xXx, Star Wars Episode II, Lord of the Rings), Anna Friel (Me Without You), and Scottish comedian Billy Connolly, who is best known to US audiences as Howard Hesseman's replacement on TV's Head of the Class.
The story is about time travel in the very near future. A technology corporation has created a method to travel into the past and a history professor (Connolly) has become trapped in France in 1357. Three students are sent back in time to rescue him.
As with Crichton's other stories, he made sure to have the details right for this one. He chose the mid-14th century because, "If you go back much before 1300, there is relatively little good documentary evidence for the kinds of information I needed; clothing, food, speech mannerisms, the details of how people lived and behaved." These details come into play with our cast. While they're in the past, they must deal with many problems, including disease, feudal battles, and culture shock.
Director Richard Donner (Superman, The Goonies, and the Lethal Weapon series) has been put at the helm of the picture. Screenwriter George Nolfi makes his debut with this film. (Marty Doskins/BOP)