*“Needle in a Timestack” is a time-bending sci-fi love story, directed by Oscar-winner John Ridley and starring Leslie Odom Jr. (“Hamilton,” “One Night in Miami”) and Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”).
The film’s tag line asks, “if love is in the form of a circle, what lines would you cross to be with your soulmate?” Nick (Odom) and Janine (Erivo) are deeply in love and enjoying marital bliss. When Janine’s ex-husband (Orlando Bloom) attempts to warp time to try to tear them apart, Nick must decide what he’s willing to sacrifice to hold onto, or let go of, everything he loves. The film is based on the short story by Robert Silverberg.
Odom and Ridley talked to EUR correspondent Jill Munroe on adapting the story into the film and Nick’s paranoia.
“When we meet Nick, he’s in a space of deep fear and anxiety,” Odom explained. “He’s scared he’s going to lose what he’s acquired in his life. He’s worried there’s somebody out there that wants to take his life from him. And maybe he’s right, or maybe he’s wrong, but it’s that fear and worry that starts to create problems for him in his relationship and other places in his life – on the other hand, he loves his life a lot, and he’s got a tight grip on it.”
The story could’ve taken any number of different directions, so what made Ridley decide to create a science fiction romance?
“That’s what I thought when I read Mr. Silverberg’s short story,” said the Oscar winning director. “It was speculative fiction. It involved sci-fi, but it was very grounded. It was very much about emotions, connectivity, and relationships. When I first read it 20 years ago, I was a young man, just getting married. And dealing with those ‘what if’s’ – is this going to work out? All of those things. So at every phase of my life, being newly married, having kids, being married for a while; you see all the directions your life can take because of one choice.”
“The feelings that I felt when I read the short story, they stayed with me every step of the way, year after year as I tried to get the story made. It was about love and the most fundamental human emotions. What I really appreciated was that I got to put this film together with a BiPOC cast. This enables us to say that all these feelings aren’t just there for the prevailing culture, it’s there for all of us,” said Ridley. “Mr. Silverberg’s short story was impactful, and I didn’t want to go far from that. If something works, why change it. I sometimes think in Hollywood there is a bit of arrogance. They’ll say, ‘that is a good departure point, but I’m going to make it better.’ This story was impactful. All I could do to make it better was fill it with a cast like I had; Leslie, Cynthia, Freida, Orlando, Jaden Wong. They are just an amazing group of individuals. I think they all bought into the same thing – it’s a big idea in a very intimate film. How can we make it as intimate as possible while still making it as impactful as we possibly can.”
The film also stars Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) and Jadyn Wong (“Scorpion,” “Cosmopolis”).
“Needle in a Timestack” will be available in select theaters and on-demand October 15.