Fans ‘Can’t Hardly Wait’ for ‘Timeline’

Elizabeth Nieto

At the sound of an ambulance siren outside of the Four Seasons Hotel in Philadelphia, actor Ethan Embry suggested that perhaps a Philadelphian was doing the noisy wine glass trick around the ring of the Liberty Bell. Embry graced the city with his presence on Tuesday to promote his new movie, “Timeline,” starring Paul Walker and Billy Connolly.

The movie comes out on Nov. 26, and is based on the book by Michael Crichton. “I read [Crichton’s book] even before the audition … when it was still in hardback, and I remember thinking what an amazing movie it’s going to be,” Embry said. “It’s got the science fiction idea with time travel, and it’s got the ancient medieval time aspect, and [with] the two of them combined, it’s really like two different stories.”

Embry added that the book and the movie both emphasize that everything is predestined, even when the people who went back in time feared they were tampering with events that would affect the future. He distinguished between “Timeline” and “Back to the Future,” saying that even though in “Back to the Future,” the future was altered by every action the characters took, “Timeline” shows that no matter what, predestination will run its course.

David Stern, Embry’s character in the film, remains in the present-day world, trying to get the time-travelers back to the present. Embry was content with the fact that his character did not travel through time. He said that while shooting the movie, “I was dry the whole time … I was clean the whole time; I wore a white shirt and it stayed white. [David Stern was] indoors, in the daytime meanwhile [the time-travelers] were out there. It was raining, it was night, they’re running in the mud, it was freezing cold, so I think I got off pretty easy.”

Such conditions took place in Montreal, where the cast filmed the entire movie. The cast had nothing short of an enjoyable time both on and off the set during their time in Canada. In fact, traveling across the globe for movie shoots is just one of the perks of acting, for Embry. He has traveled not only to Montreal, but also to Africa and to the Caribbean strictly for the filming of movies. “It’s never the same thing,” Embry said. “Always changing … keeps you on your toes.”

If given the chance to travel back in time, Embry said he would travel either back to America in the ’60s, back to the time of Noah and the Ark, or all the way back to Adam and Eve (clearly influenced by his southern Baptist upbringing). “I’d go back to Adam and Eve and be like ‘put that apple down! You’re going to ruin it for the rest of us! … We could live naked for our whole lives if you just don’t eat the apple,'” he said with a laugh.

The only thing he would not do, if time-travel were feasible, is to travel into the future. “I don’t want to know what happens in the future. I mean, that’s the reason why life is so cool, right? You don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

On the set of “Timeline,” Embry worked with actor Billy Connolly. “He’s a great guy,” Embry said. “Really funny, down-to-earth. I love being around him; I love working with people like that, too. People that, no matter what’s going on around them, they enjoy what they’re doing and they’re having a blast doing it.” He said that they almost worked together again in what would have been the last two-dimensional Disney animated film, which was cancelled, leaving “Brother Bear” as the last of its kind.

Embry also starred in the TV series “Dragnet,” where he played Detective Frank Smith. It was on this set that he worked with comedian and actor Ed O’Neill, whom Embry has known and worked with since he was 10.

“Ed [O’Neill] is amazing,” Embry said. “He taught me everything that I know. My first movie I did was with him. … I think that if I worked with anybody else other than him on my first job, I would have had a different idea of what the business would be … His whole thing that he taught me is that everybody’s the same. You’re not special just because you got the trailer.”

*For those of you interested in pestering your family at the dinner table on Thanksgiving with the aforementioned wine glass trick, fill 1/4 of a wine glass with water, wet your fingertip, and run it along the rim of the glass.