How to travel in time? This HBO series reveals exactly how it’s done


“And here, in a very, very short time in terms of television, here we are!” laughs Moffat.

“Here” is a six-part HBO adaptation written by Moffat and directed by The iron Throneis David Nutter. It was Nutter who had Rose Leslie on speed dial since her role as Ygritte the Wildling in thronesand when she was paired with Theo James on a chemistry reading, it was clear they had found their way.

Steven Moffat says the chemistry between Theo James and Rose Leslie was evident at the script reading stage.Credit:Macall Polay

“The chemistry reading was done on Zoom,” says Nutter, “which was…interesting. But when they started reading together, I immediately felt a connection. And I found out they kinda worked together on Downton Abbey and knew each other there, just on a very light basis. So even on Zoom I can feel the warmth, I feel a connection there, which was fantastic.

Whatever the chemistry, in this adaptation of The Time Traveler’s Wife it’s here. For a romance to work, you have to feel like the couple could be a couple: there is an ease and humor between Leslie and James in each scene.

“We were very lucky,” says Leslie. “When we went out to start filming, we had about three or four weeks of rehearsal, and it was this time that allowed Theo and I to get a sense of who we are; to understand before we are in front of the camera how we are going to represent these characters.

According to Leslie, it’s the dialogue that makes their relationship sing:

“steven [Moffat] gives such a light and airy feel to their interaction, that when you’re in front of someone really good, it can only heighten the scene. I always thought it was a bit like playing tennis: if you have a really good partner, then you improve your game.”

Since Back to the future for Foreign in Moffat Doctor Who, television and cinema are full of time travel. At the very least, it gives the cast a chance to grow old, revisit and contemplate their past and future: in The Time Traveler’s Wife we see Clare and Henry at every stage of life.

“For me personally,” says Leslie, “it was his 16-year-old self that I loved the most. I put on a wig which gave me longer hair. Suddenly I had hip length hair and I was braiding and braiding it. Playing with it reminded me of myself when I was younger, the insecurities I had – I kind of hid behind the hair, I played with it to distract myself from the thoughts going through my head. So it was, uh, it was kind of surreal going back in time and trying to remember what I was like when I was 16.

So let’s just say they could jump into, I don’t know, a nearby TARDIS, where – more specifically when – would they go?

“I would love to see what the human race will look like two centuries from now,” James says. “It’s long enough that a lot of things can happen for better and for worse, but it’s close enough that it’s not a totally unrecognizable place. I mean, there’s this whole thing about the global warming that says we’re kind of screwing up the planet for generations to come. I’d like to see if we end up screwing it up, basically.

The Time Traveler’s Wife is on Binge.

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