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Exclusive Interview: Nerdy Questions for THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE’s Hailey and Tatum McCann

If you’re a regular reader here, you know I’m a devoted fan of Audrey Niffenegger’s novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and that I’m excited about the movie adaptation finally opening this Friday, August 14. (Click here to read an assessment after a test screening.)

Hailey McCann

Hailey McCann

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, who star as Henry and Clare, have been getting lots of press so I thought I’d talk to a pair of different actors from the movie, Hailey and Tatum McCann, sisters who play Henry and Clare’s daughter Alba at different ages (Hailey: 9 & 10, Tatum: 4 & 5).

Though they were traveling to attend the movie’s New York City premiere tonight, August 12, the girls agreed to an e-mail conversation and come across grounded and smart, like normal kids who just happen to be in a grown-up business.

For more info on Hailey and Tatum and how they got their start in acting, click on their names to visit their websites. Meanwhile, read on as they answer my nerdy questions about their TTTW experiences.

PCN: Stories about time travel can be confusing, even for adults. How did you manage to make sense of the story? Did you read the book first?

Hailey: No, I didn’t read the book first because I heard that it was too mature for my age at the time, but I didn’t find it confusing at all!  When you break it down scene by scene, it’s a lot easier to understand.  The only part that was confusing was when we couldn’t figure out which Alba was in what scene because we were both referred to as “Young Alba”!!

Tatum McCann

Tatum McCann

Tatum: No, I did not read the book because it was too grown-up.  I heard that they kissed and stuff…eeeww! It wasn’t really confusing because we do it one scene at a time over and over and over again—until we had lunch…yum yum.

PCN: Who auditioned first?

Hailey: We both decided that Tatum would go first and she read for Alba and [Young] Clare, then I would go next reading for Alba.

PCN: How many callbacks did you have before booking the job?  Did you have to screen test with either Rachel McAdams or Eric Bana?

Hailey: I had an audition and a callback and that was it. I never had a screen test with either of them.

Tatum: Me, too!

PCN: That’s great. Sometimes actors have to audition 6-8 times for a big movie. What was it like working with Rachel and Eric?

Hailey: Both Rachel and Eric were truly amazing people to work with!  Before we started shooting the film, the three of us took a trip to a museum to get to know each other.  As we walked around, many people recognized Rachel. When they did, she graciously took pictures with them and was so loving and kind to everyone. A few months later, Eric and I were shooting in Chicago . It was unbelievably cold and very windy. Eric would huddle me in his oversized and fuzzy jacket to help keep me warm in between takes. Both Eric and Rachel are amazing actors and extraordinary people.

Clockwise from L.: Brooklynn Proulx (who plays Young Clare), McAdams (in back), Hailey and Tatum at the movie's NYC premiere

Clockwise from L.: Brooklynn Proulx (who plays Young Clare), McAdams (in back), Hailey and Tatum at the Aug. 12 NYC premiere/Getty Images

Tatum:  Most of my work was with Rachel. In between takes, Rachel and I would exchange jokes. She was so nice listening to all of my jokes that didn’t make a lot of sense because I would tell them in segments or whenever we had time. Rachel is very funny and she knows tons of great jokes. After we finished shooting, she gave me a fabulous joke book that still entertains me today!

PCN: You kind of covered my next question. Since you had to do some heartbreaking scenes, I was wondering what you did between takes.

Hailey: Actually, I laughed and danced and talked and shouted!!! While the camera is rolling, I stay in character and am totally serious, but once they say “cut,” it’s all smiles from everybody on set.

Tatum: I would help Rachel start laughing to help her stop crying. Once you get so into a scene it’s hard to stop, but good jokes and smiles usually do the trick!

PCN: What were your favorite experiences on set?

Hailey: One of my favorite experiences was when Tatum and I got to film together. It was so much fun to film because we hadn’t seen each other for a while and we got to meet up and do what we both love to do…act! And we got to poke a dead bird with a stick, but the first reason is more important.

Tatum: I second the motion! Working with my sister was awesome, and I hope to do it again soon!

PCN: What are you working on now or have coming up?

Hailey: I recently filmed an episode of [the A&E TV series] The Cleaner and I have auditions in the works…fingers crossed.

Tatum: I shot an episode of ER and recently went out on a couple movie auditions…wish me luck!

PCN: Break a leg, both of you! Do you intend to keep acting into adulthood? When you hear stories about child stars like Lindsay Lohan and Mischa Barton misbehaving, how does it make you feel?

Hailey: As of now, I am 13 and loving acting, but we will see where acting takes me. And as far as people in the news, I wish they had better friends to keep them grounded and out of trouble!

Tatum: I want to continue acting and hope I will grow up to be as cool and pretty as some of the actresses I’ve worked with, like Rachel McAdams and my sister, Hailey.

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FUNNY PEOPLE Is Only Funny In That It Isn’t

A source of mine recently attended a screening of Funny People and sent me the following appraisal. Since I don’t intend to see this movie, I’m posting my source’s assessment but with this caveat: While he said it looked and sounded finished, with titles and music in place, there’s still a possibility this is NOT the final version to be released July 31.

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I am not a fan of Adam Sandler or Seth Rogen, but I am a Judd Apatow fan. The trailer for this film actually made me laugh out loud enough to check out a screening. Now I want my time back.

It starts out all right. We see George Simmons (Adam Sandler) being recognized and amiably posing with a number of fans while on his way to see his doctor. He mugs, he cajoles, he’s the hilarious nice guy and uber-comedian. He’s like Jim Carrey, Chris Rock, Robin Williams, Ricky Gervais and, well, Adam Sandler all rolled into one. Then we see him getting the bad news that he has an incurable disease.

a sandler and srDevastated and devoid of any true friends he can talk to, he seeks out the group hug he knows he can only get from a live audience. So he heads back to his roots in stand-up comedy for that feeling of adoration and comfort. Enter Ira Wright (Seth Rogen).

Ira is a down-on-his-luck, unfunny comedian dreaming of a better life and trying desperately to come up with better material. George, remembering what life was like before he made it big, decides to give Ira a shot at the big time by hiring him to write a few jokes for an upcoming MySpace gig. Thus, George gets to do something good and just might make a much needed friend in the process.

The story gets mired in multiple plotlines that do nothing to move it forward. It’s like one big improv, but someone forgot to set the ground rules to give it shape and direction. Could it be Apatow was overwhelmed by his cast?

lm & asAnd it’s a great cast. Not only do Apatow regulars Jonah Hill, Leslie Mann and Jason Schwartzman appear, so do James Taylor, Ray Romano, Norm MacDonald and Sarah Silverman, just to name a few. Eminem also shows up to do a rant that might now be familiar to those who saw him straddled by Brüno at the MTV Movie Awards. It has nothing to do with the film’s storyline and is just one of many moments where the movie loses focus.

I think the problem is there’s too much talent and not enough plot to go around. I shuddered while viewing the end credits, seeing names of all the people who must’ve been cut out of this movie. Don’t know if they’re going to be reinserted but I’m feeling it might be better to wait for the DVD, which must have a goldmine of extended scenes and outtakes.

THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE Trailer and Poster Revealed (Video)

time

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you might know I’ve been keeping tabs on the movie version of Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife since it’s one of my absolutely favorite books ever. I wrote about it earlier here when a source saw it at a test screening (and about her next novel here).

I’ve since also seen a version that, if it’s not the final cut, must be very close to it. The film moved me deeply—it retains the spirit of the book while having to omit and change some things—but I’ll save a formal review for after seeing the finished product.

Meanwhile, the trailer is out and the one-sheet has been revealed. How gorgeous is that poster? I want to frame one and hang it in my den.

What do you think, TTTW fans? How excited are you? (UPDATE: Read my interview with Hailey & Tatum McCann, who play Alba at different ages in the film.)

When Will TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE Travel to Movie Screens?

2008_the_time_travelers_wife_006A source of mine sent me the following e-mail after attending a test/preview screening of The Time Traveler’s Wife. Please keep in mind this isn’t a formal review. The movie is still a work in progress and may differ greatly from the final cut.

Having said that, there’s a huge bunch of people rabidly anticipating this movie and I’m near the head of the line. I read Audrey Niffenegger’s magical book when it first came out in 2003 and promptly forced it onto any and all unsuspecting victims within reach. I made my sister stay up all night on a weeknight to finish the 525-page tome and she has a job.

At any rate, what my source reports is promising:

2008_the_time_travelers_wife_004“It’s a testament to the quality of the story and Rachel McAdams’ luminous talent that this movie is as moving as it is, considering how wooden Eric Bana is as Henry. He’s really stiff, not quite a romantic hero. Someone like Colin Firth would’ve done a much better job. At least McAdams is well-cast. She carries this movie with her longing eyes and expressive face. This woman is a Movie Star. The actresses playing 10-year-old Alba and 6-year-old Clare are also very good.

rachelAmazingly, the complex novel has been compressed into a well-paced movie that’s only about an hour and a half. The first scene introduces Henry’s time-traveling right away without much preamble, which is good, since it grabs you instantly, even if you haven’t read the book (I have). Obviously, details have been left out but the movie covers all the important themes—free will, destiny, true love, life and death, etc. The ending, at least in this version, is different from the book but keeps the spirit of what Henry was trying to tell Clare in the novel. It’s effective and satisfying and if it doesn’t make you cry or at least put a lump in your throat, you’re a heartless jerk.”

Whoa! Who’s excited with me?! (UPDATE: Read my exclusive interview with the young actresses who play Alba here.)

IMDb still lists the release date as February 2010, but does this report help you any? Does it make the wait easier or do you wish you could travel to next February? Leave me a comment then bookmark this site ’cause I’ll keep you updated if I hear anything else, i.e. info about Niffenegger’s new novel or when the trailer comes out.

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