Time Travelers Wife, The: Interview with Actor Eric Bana

Eric Bana plays Henry in “The Time Traveler's Wife,” starring Rachel McAdams and directed by Robert Schwentke, which is being released August 14, 2009 by New Line Cinema.

Not Just Any Love Story

Playing the role of Henry, Eric Bana adds that the concept of time travel and the fact that Henry and Clare can be separated in an instant “is very difficult for them in terms of how much control they have over their own destinies. In any love story, you need things that dramatically drive and test the relationship, and our two characters obviously have plenty of that. But their relationship ultimately has enough building blocks that you believe they are truly in love. I think it's a very intimate and moving story and it leaves you with a lot to think about.”

Rachel McAdams and Schwentke

Bana says that the opportunity to work with both McAdams and Schwentke was part of what drew him to the project. “I've been a fan of Rachel's and wanted to do a movie with her. I had also seen some of Robert's work and thought he was a really interesting director, both visually and stylistically. We had a good chat about how we each saw the film and his interpretation of the material and I came away really excited about playing Henry.”

Playing Time Traveler

For the actor, the appeal of playing a time traveler was that the character is innately multi-faceted, appearing at various ages and shaped by his experiences, past, present and future. “It gave me room to make choices about what was right for the role at different times,” Bana explains. “We all change over time; none of us is the same person we were ten years ago. Life makes an imprint on us–how we behave, how much patience we have, how forgiving we are, how stubborn… So playing Henry at different ages allowed me to explore different sides of the same person and the impact on his relationship with Clare.”

Benefits of Rehearsals

Both actors appreciated the added time together. “I think rehearsal periods are a huge benefit,” Bana attests. “I always use rehearsal times to learn how my castmates like to work. Rachel was incredibly easy to work with. She came into rehearsals extremely well-prepared; she knew the material very well and had very clear ideas, but never at the expense of other actors. She's so natural and was always right there in the moment, which made my job so much easier. She is just brilliant.”

Keeping the Age Straight

Bana jokes that he had a foolproof way to keep his character's age straight. “When I had the wig on, I knew I was playing the younger Henry and when I had my own hair, I was playing the older Henry. So that wig was a great physical tool for me,” he laughs.