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One of today’s busiest actresses, Amanda Seyfried has showcased plenty of excellent performances in the last couple of years. The 25-year-old starlet has starred alongside starts such as Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright and proved to many that she is worthy of her place among these profiles.
In the sci-fi action thriller In Time, she plays the part of rich girl Sylvia who’s encounter with Will Salas makes the explosive cocktail for one of the most exciting movies this winter. While Sylvia may become someone who inspires Will to take up the fight, she certainly does not start out that way.
The nascent darker side of Sylvia was something Seyfried could bring to the fore, says executive producer Andrew Z. Davis: “What I love about Amanda is there’s a sweetness about her but, at the same time, she has an edge. I don’t think audiences have really gotten to see her edge that much in movies.”
“Sylvia is the girl in the gilded cage,” seconds his co-executive producer Amy Israel, “trapped by her situation; she questions it because she isn’t sure everything is exactly the way it should be. But she’s kept in that system by her father and her circumstance, all the time yearning for more, wanting to take risks. But no one in New Greenwich takes risks.”
“Sylvia dreads her life every day,” reveals Amanda Seyfried. “She wants to have some kind of adventure. In a world like this, you spend so much time trying to protect your life that you don’t really end up living. Everybody has bodyguards. They all eat very well, but very little, they don’t drink or smoke; it’s mundane.
Sylvia just isn’t made for this kind of life. She gets her wish for a different life when Will takes her away.” Seyfried was attracted to many of the things that captured her on-screen partner Justin Timberlake’s imagination about the world Niccol had created. “Andrew’s one of a kind, and I wanted to be a part of this.
It’s so very different, but at the same time, it has so many parallels to the way we live, which is why it’s so smart. And I have to admit, getting to hold a gun and kick some butt also sounded like a blast.” Sylvia and Will are running for their lives – not just to find enough time to make it through another day, but from the Timekeepers out to capture the fugitive duo.
“Timekeepers keep the system running; they actually keep time,” says Niccol. “And our principal antagonist, Timekeeper Leon, is not really a villain. He is just a bureaucrat, an authority figure who has allegiance to no one, rich or poor. His only allegiance is to minutes and seconds.”
For the role of the Timekeeper Leon the filmmakers cast another versatile actor, Cillian Murphy. Murphy acknowledges the circumstances of his character – “he’s a cop charged with keeping this system going” – but the actor finds the deeper layers of Leon more compelling to play: “What’s great about the character is that he is a contradiction, because he’s actually from that same ghetto where Will lives.
Deep down, he knows that it’s a corrupt system, and yet he’s decided to accept that and pursue his goal of keeping time. He’s a very kinetic and focused character, and for him it’s just about constantly moving forward. I think he’s suppressed all of his past. What I liked about the writing is that Will and Leon, they’re the flip side of each other.
It’s just different paths having been taken. This is the path he’s chosen, and he suppresses all of the misgivings and issues he has with this system. He’s tried to leave them behind over the course of his life.”
As with the classic archetypal chase – the hunter and the hunted – so beautifully realized in, for example, The Fugitive, a bond forms as the chase quickens. Murphy adds, “Not only does Leon realize he’s from the same side of the tracks as Will, but there is a sense of history; Leon knew Will’s father. I think over the course of the story, they gain a respect for each other.”