Time travel has always been a popular cinematic device for sci-fi films. In 2014 alone, Hollywood released three films of the same genre — “Edge of Tomorrow,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and Christopher Nolan’s most recent worldwide success, “Interstellar.” And with the likes of “Back to the Future” and “The Terminator” as some of the most iconic sci-fi films, time-traveling surely attracts an audience for box office success. With that said, 2015 will be releasing its first sci-fi thriller of the year — “Project Almanac.”
Directed by newcomer Dean Israelite and starring Jonny Weston (“Chasing Mavericks”) and Sofia Black-D’Elia (“Skins”) as lead roles, the Michael Bay-produced fantasy is about a group of teenage friends who discover a time machine and use it to fix their problems and for personal gain. In the process, the future falls apart with disasters. With each of them disappearing one by one, they must travel back to the past to make sure they never invent the machine or face the destruction of humanity.
Sounds like quite a suspenseful film! But what separates it from all the previous time-travel-based sci-fi films? Lead actress of the anticipated film, Sofia Black-D’Elia, said, “[We’re not] the first time travel movie that’s ever been made. Our spin, however, is that, A) our characters are in high school who have relationship stories, and B) the found footage [aspect is incorporated.]” The found footage genre is incorporated when the events on screen are seen through a handheld camera of one or more characters involved. Shaky camera work and naturalistic acting are often employed. Examples of films that have adopted this style include “Chronicle,” “Cloverfield” and “The Blair Witch Project.” Nonetheless, while these films used it for the purpose of adding dramatic effect to its dark plots, “Project Almanac” plans to include the viewers in the characters’ journeys to the past and future. As Black-D’Elia said it clearly, “It’s kind of a fun ride we want our audience to be a part of.”
The filming itself was not a walk in the park, according to the cast. There was a lot of pressure put on the young actors, especially since they worked for high-caliber film artist —who is also producer of the time-travel thriller — Michael Bay. Nonetheless, lead actor Jonny Weston appreciated the acclaimed director’s work ethics and efforts to make the project impeccable. “Michael Bay watches over every cut after the day it’s been filmed. You know he’s going to let you know what’s going right and what’s wrong,” the “Chasing Mavericks” actor said. “You’re just comforted that you know this film isn’t going to be [crap].”
In fact, “Project Almanac” was scheduled to release in February 2014, then was pushed back until July and then was delayed a further six months to its current release date — Jan. 30, 2015. “We wanted to add more [to the movie and the publicity,]” Weston said. “We went back and shot more. The movie became a lot better than the producers intended; it became a lot more complex. As far as the publicity, we were able to add a poster that advertises ‘Project Almanac’ in the new ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ movie, since both films are produced by Michael Bay. That was pretty slick!” The name was also changed several times during the delay — from “Welcome to Yesterday” to its current title, “Project Almanac.” Despite the minor setback, the cast and crew are eager to have completed the film, and are excited to show people the product of their hard work.
Although 2015 will be full of highly anticipated action-packed films such as “Ant-Man,” “Furious 7,” a new “Star Wars” and the “Avengers” sequel. It wouldn’t hurt to check out this year’s first science fiction thriller! Be sure to check out “Project Almanac” in your local theaters Friday, Jan. 30.