Why Steven Moffat turned The Time Traveler’s Wife into an HBO show

Steven Moffat (“Doctor Who”, “Sherlock”) adapted The Time Traveler’s Wife into an HBO series because he is a fan of the book.

“It inspired them [‘Doctor Who’] Episode ‘The Girl in the Fireplace,'” Moffat told the Post. “I had just read The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I loved. And I said, ‘We should do an episode like this.’ And then in [author Audrey Niffenegger’s] In the next book, she had a character who watched The Fireplace Girl on TV. So I knew she was after me. And then we got in touch.”

The six-episode series, which premieres May 15 (at 9 p.m.), stars Theo James as Henry de Tamble, a man with a genetic disorder that causes him to time travel and can’t control when or where he lands – and he always travels naked. which causes problems when he’s unceremoniously dropped off at random public places. Clare Abshire (Rose Leslie, “Game of Thrones”), his wife, has grown up with Henry since he time-travelled to visit her when she was young. When they meet when they are both in their twenties, she is happy to see him, but he doesn’t know who she is – as their visits are still in his future (although they are in her past).

Rose Leslie sadly leans against a rock.
Rose Leslie as Clare in The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Macall Polay

“What made me fall in love with the book was the treatment of Henry and Clare’s love story,” Moffat said. “Because Audrey is doing something very unusual. She takes up the story of a perfectly happy marriage. Most love stories end at the altar, and we rejoin them when there is a divorce, an affair, or one of them dies. We don’t do the middle where two people are perfectly happy together for decades. It’s kind of an ongoing miracle all around us, and we don’t know how to write about it because it just sounds sentimental and undramatic. And I think Audrey uses time travel to remind herself on every page that love is inseparable from loss.”

The Time Traveler’s Wife was also a 2009 film starring Rachel McAdams as Clare and Eric Bana as Henry.

Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams are strolling down a street smiling.
Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in The Time Traveler’s Wife.
© New Line Cinema/Courtesy of Evere

“To be honest, when this film came out, I didn’t have the profile to adapt it,” Moffat said. “And I didn’t expect it. I never thought about it except when I was collecting ideas for Doctor Who. The very last day I worked on Doctor Who, I went for a drink with my executive producer and he said, “I was looking for the rights to The Time Traveler’s Wife.” It wasn’t like that about hanging around for a decade wondering when it’s my turn. But when it came down to it, I was thrilled.”

Theo James sits on a rock with a young girl.
Henry (The James) during one of his visits to Clare when she is a child in The Time Traveller’s Wife.
Macall Polay

In the story, Henry and Clare spend a lot of time together when she is a child and he is an adult, which might raise some eyebrows from the audience.

“There will be people – and there always have been people – who will distort the intent of the book to pretend to be outraged by it,” Moffat said. “When I look at a picture of my wife as a child, I know this adorable little girl and I love her because I love that person… But she doesn’t have a sexual feeling because she’s not a sexual being. Love is a bigger thing than sex. We shouldn’t look at everything through the prism of desire and sex. So, I think it’s a fake controversy. It’s not real. They are people who want to be outraged.

“I challenge everyone to find anything in the book, movie, or TV show that suggests it [Henry] is not behaving in an entirely appropriate manner.”

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