If you invented time travel, how would you use it? The answer that Time Freak, the new sci-fi rom-com starring Asa Butterfield and Sophie Turner, locks onto is to try and fix a great relationship gone wrong. Butterfield plays Stillman, a physics genius, who’s broken up with by Turner’s Debbie and vows to fix what he feels is true love. This involves painfully reliving some of his most embarrassing moments, changing both himself and Debbie in the process.
Screen Rant caught up with Turner and Butterfield to chat making Time Freak and its biggest challenges.
Normally, movies shoot of order. But in this one, you’re shooting out of order of the logic of the characters as well. Did that pose any unique challenges?
Asa Butterfield: Yeah. We were shooting out of order, but then we’d have to shoot multiple timelines of the same event at the same time. So doing the scene, but then you’d do it again with… yeah, it got very confusing, simply put. We had to have it very planned out, but it works. It works.
The movie is morally quite tricky – you’ve got meddling with people’s emotions. I don’t think the movie shies away from that – it can’t to get to the conclusion. How did you feel, reading the script, and how did you ensure that the movie came across quite earnestly?
Sophie Turner: It could have been a melodramatic piece, and it could have been a bit over-the-top, but it wasn’t because of the very kind of minute things that Stillman was going back to try and fix, rather than these big events in their lives that could be blown open. Very real. And the script, it was all the writing really. I mean, the characters were there, the arcs was there. It wasn’t too farfetched. Because when you’re shooting a movie that has this supernatural, fantastic thing to it such a time traveling, you have to ensure the stories feel very grounded and very real so that the characters… there’s that balance so that we don’t go too far over the top.
You talk about this type of movie. There’s a long line of romantic time travel – About Time, The Time Traveller’s Wife, Groundhog Day. Did you guys go back to any of these?
AB: I wouldn’t say in terms of for the performance. I’m sure artistically they would have used references from them in the filmmaking process, and certainly, the comedic elements were there. There’s a lot you can do with time travel – in who’s aware of the mechanics of time travel. There are a lot of gags with me and Skyler [Gisondo in that]. But in terms of performance, no, I think we wanted to keep it quite true to whatever the story we had was. Because it was original in its own right.
In terms of shooting the movie, obviously you talked about the challenge of doing all the different things at once, but in terms of the task of shooting, what was the trickiest part of the movie? The car chase?
AB: Probably the scenes where I’m going back multiple times to do it, and then you have to shoot from one angle, but essentially do four different scenes…
ST: Oh my god.
AB: Conversations, but we shoot from the same angle, then we do the same from the other angle. We’d spend so long on one particular scene because we came back to the scene multiple times. So that was quite hard.
ST: That scene took so long. I remember. It was really difficult. I wasn’t involved in the car chase. Was it you doing… who was doing the car chase? Was it all stunts?
AB: The car chase was just me and Sky. And that was actually a lot of fun. You know, crashing through the tree, me running away from the car. It did get very tiring because I was just running all day, and I’m not very fit, so…
ST: You know what, no no no. The most difficult for you, Asa, must have been, 3 o’clock in the morning and you had to run into the river.
AB: Into the lake. Oh my God.
ST: Into the lake!
ST: Oh my god. He was freezing. Everyone was terrified you’d get pneumonia.
AB: Yeah, it took all night of building up to it. And it was absolutely freezing cold. But, yeah, I think I did it twice. Did it once, got out and they’re like “OK, let’s do it again.”
Time Freak is available on VOD now. [Source]