The Time Machine: Andrew Cooper
EW Staff
February 08, 2002 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Time Machine

Current Status
In Season
96 minutes
Wide Release Date
Guy Pearce, Mark Addy, Jeremy Irons, Orlando Jones, Samantha Mumba
Simon Wells
John Logan, Simon Wells
ActionAdventure, Sci-fi and Fantasy

We gave it a C

For Aussie actor Pearce, the leap to big fat Hollywood fantasy films required some ”Memento”-like mental reconfiguring. ”We shot the film in 95 days,” he says. ”In Australian terms, that’s four movies!” Yet no one had more adjustments to make than rookie live-action director Wells, an animator and the great-grandson of H.G. Wells, the man whose novel inspired the film (as well as a 1960 version). First came Wells’debilitating bout with exhaustion during the movie’s final month of principal photography, for which he was relieved by ”The Mexican”’s Gore Verbinski. Then, the week after Sept. 11, DreamWorks announced it was bumping the movie from Christmas 2001 to distance it from ”Harry Potter” and ”The Lord of the Rings.”

Oh, and there was that shot of a falling chunk of moon slamming into the World Trade Center. When Wells saw news footage of the second plane hitting the second tower, he realized the movie had a similar image, from a similar angle. ”We went, ‘Oh, damn, no. No way,”’says Wells, who reshaped the sequence. ”My agent asked me recently, ‘Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?’But yes. Yes, I would. Okay, so it came close to killing me. But hey, I survived.”

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