Ask actor Jonny Weston what he’s been up to while he’s been waiting for what could be his “big break” to hit theaters. Go ahead.
“Twiddling my thumbs,” he says, laughing. “I’ve been waiting what, a year and a half for (“Project Almanac”) to come out? It’s your whole future on hold, basically.”
He had supporting parts in such little seen gems as “Chasing Mavericks” and “John Dies at the End,” which virtually no one saw. So don’t bother trying to bum him out that reviews for “Almanac,” a teen time travel (in “Blair Witch” shaky cam) thriller are decidedly mixed. “Could have been a lot worse,” The Boston Globe opined. Even The New York Daily News endorsement has this zinger — “Every generation gets the time travel it deserves.”
“All this time,” Weston says. “Now, one last bit of waiting. I’m waiting for all my friends to call me and tell me what they thought of it.”
And that past year wasn’t exactly thumb-twiddling. He’s in the “Divergent” sequel, “Insurgent.” He just finished with “We Are Your Friends,” set in the world of LA’s EDM (electronic dance music) DJs. So it’s all good.
“Research” for playing the “Almanac” genius-nerd consisted of watching Youtube videos of time travel theories giving seminars. But what the self-confessed “‘Twilight Zone’ geek,” “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and “Back to the Future III” fan can do, with authority, is list his favorite time travel movie conventions, ideas he knew he and his cast mates would have to play when “Project Almanac” went into production.
“You’ve got to explain the science. (“Interstellar,” “Star Trek IV”). Or try to (“Looper”). Or ignore it. (“Safety Not Guaranteed,””Peggy Sue Got Married”). We explain it, but we don’t take up the whole movie doing that.
“You’ve got to go back and meet a dead loved-one. (“Peggy Sue Got Married”, “Looper”).
“You probably want to win the lottery. You get the girl of your dreams. Seriously, what would you do if you had access to a time machine? Get a girl. Get the money.”
What about Weston? Suppose the 26 year-old got access to a “Hot Tub Time Machine”?
“I can’t even begin to think about what I’d do over — THOUSANDS of auditions I’d take or do over, for starters. Life gets you off on tangents. You change the past, those tangents change. I might not even be an actor.”
And nothing stifles creativity like winning the lottery.
But what about consequences?
“You go back and save somebody in the past, and that person might save someone who ruins a thousand lives “(The Butterfly Effect,” et al). That’s too much responsibility for one person. Would you use that power if you had it? I invariably say ‘Yes,’ because, let’s be honest. It’s human nature to want to try to change your life.”
But it’s the message of the movie that “There are no ‘second chances.'”
Right, Weston says. But you’ve got to give audiences what they want from a time travel movie. So that “message” can be fudged.
“Maybe, if you take that second chance, make sure you get it right this second time. This time, remember to say ‘I love you.'”
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