I was able to talk to Jonny Weston, star of the upcoming time travel film Project Almanac, and newest addition to the Insurgent cast. We talk about his film, time travel, Lollapalooza, and a little about the character created just for the film version of Insurgent. Weston plays high school student David, who finds the plans to a time machine his father started building 10 years ago. With the help of his friends and sister, they build the machine and change the past.
Project Almanac has gone through name and release date changes from when it was suppose to come out last year as Almanac, Welcome to Yesterday. What happened there?
Jonny Weston: Yeah man, well, last minute we got MTV to help promote the film, so we had to do some reshoots for the film. In the end, I think it was for the better, and it made the movie better, so it was worth it.
How does it feel to finally have it coming out?
JW: It was frustrating at first, telling all these people about the film, but having it be delayed so long. Now that it’s coming out, I feel so relieved and now everyone will see what I was talking about all along. I’m excited because I think everyone will like it as much as I do.
So Michael Bay was one of the producers on the film. Was he ever on set, and did you get to talk to him?
JW: Yeah, he was one of the producers, but unfortunately he wasn’t ever on set. At the time, he was in New York filming the Ninja Turtles movie. I did go to New York to visit him. He’s such a great guy and a talented filmmaker. The other two producers, Andrew [Form] and Bradley [Fuller], were always on set, and they were more like a father to me while I was on set.
Makes sense that Bay wasn’t on set; I didn’t notice too many explosions in the trailer. What it did show was a lot of time traveling to the past, but was there any traveling into the future?
JW: That’s what I like about the film, is that it is written with all these time traveling rules in mind. There was only traveling into the past because you can’t travel into the future since it hasn’t happened. It’s very smart like that, and I think people are going to like how much thought was put into it, and how authentic it is to the time traveling genre.
That makes sense. So after seeing all the consequences of time travel, if you found a working time machine, would you use it? Where or when would you go?
JW: If I had a time machine I would definitely use it! One of the first things I would do is go back to the past and take out Audrey Hepburn. Maybe take her to dinner or something.
How about instead you have breakfast at Tiffany’s?
JW: Oh my god, you’re right! I would do that!
Without giving too much away, what scene or part of the film are you most excited for audiences to see?
JW: That final scene in the trailer, where I’m on the floor and there is a huge force pushing back all the cops coming towards me. Everything leading up to right before that moment and the moment after it is what I’m most excited for people to see. I also really liked the Lollapalooza scenes. We were at Lollapalooza and basically weren’t authorized to film, so this was all done guerilla style.
Since the movie was suppose to come out last year, it wasn’t this past Lolla, but the one before it, right? I was there! Great bands to be there for, too, if you’ve never been before.
JW: Yeah, we had a great time and saw awesome bands like Imagine Dragons. I’m really into EDM (electronic dance music) so I was happy to see a lot of them were there, like Disclosure. Then we went around the city [Chicago] and hung out and shot some more. It was a great experience.
I’m from Chicago, so I have to agree that it’s a great place. As far as other films about time traveling, do you have a favorite one?
JW: It would definitely have to be Back to the Future III. That movie was just so much fun with Doc and Marty McFly. I especially loved that “Mad Dog”/Biff character. That movie was also kind of the inspiration for this film.
Did you draw any inspiration from it for your character?
JW: Well, David is kind of a very intelligent and socially awkward high schooler. I just drew inspiration from my high school experience, since he is kind of like many smart high school kids.
Would you consider him a hero or anti-hero?
JW: Neither really, he is just your typical high school kid who is using the time machine for fun and personal gain. He’s not looking to do anything good or bad, but at the end he realizes that his selfishness is starting to catch up to him. He tries to do the right thing in the end.
As far as upcoming projects, I see you’re going to be in the upcoming sequel to Divergent, Insurgent. They created a character only for the films that doesn’t exist in the book’s universe. Can you tell me a little about Edgar and his role in that world?
JW: I can’t really say too much about it since they’re trying to keep it a secret. My character is part of the factionless and has a really cool mohawk. He is really ambitious and is trying to work his way up.
It must be a great feeling, almost like they wrote a part just for you.
JW: It is great, and I just found out that I’ll also be in the sequel to Insurgent. I can’t wait to get back to filming.
So how did the two filming experiences compare?
JW: They were completely different. On one film, I’m the star with a smaller cast. It was different going on set for Insurgent because it was going on an ongoing set where all these people already knew each other from the previous film. I was the new guy.
Well thanks again for taking the time to talk to us. Well look forward to seeing you in Project Almanac, and then later in the year in Insurgent.
Project Almanac hits theaters this Friday. Make sure to check it out!