Bringing The Time Traveler's Wife to life

Aug 13, 2009 at 7:03 p.m. ET

Bruce Joel Rubin's task: take one beloved book, The Time Traveler's Wife and successfully bring it to the big screen. As any screenwriter can attest, putting words to page is a trying task, but when those words are from characters that transcend literature -- the deck is stacked against you.

Rubin first lobbied for the job of screenwriter of The Time Traveler's Wife when he saw Audrey Niffenegger's manuscript in 2005. Having shared the passion of millions who have read the novel, Rubin felt he had the necessary sensitivity to bring Henry and Clare's love to life. After all, he won an Oscar for merging the supernatural and timeless love in Ghost. Sounds as if Rubin is the perfect scribe to capture The Time Traveler's Wife? Guess again. This love story is years in the making.

Writing the book on romance

SheKnows: How did you first become acquainted with The Time Traveler's Wife?

Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana in The Time Traveler's Wife

Bruce Joel Rubin: I'll tell you a funny story. I found this movie in Variety. They were going to make a movie out of something called The Time Traveler's Wife. I got really excited about the concept. I got a copy of the manuscript. I read it and said, "I could write this." I started working on it. I started writing it. It was really exciting for me and then another writer came into the picture. And, he got the job.

SheKnows: That must have crushed you…

Bruce Joel Rubin: It totally devastated me, this thing was in me and alive. Approximately four years later, I'm on vacation in Costa Rica at Christmas with my family and I get a call from my agent saying that there's a new director on this project and he wants me to write the script. I've never wanted a script so bad in my life. I thought this was extraordinary. I came to LA and got on the same page with the director and studio and sat down and pulled out a script.

Ghost to TTW: combining romance & supernatural

SheKnows: Was it a difficult task to combine the romance and the supernatural?

Bruce Joel Rubin: A love story always has an arc. Even though it plays with time, it's a matter of when he is in time, as long as the love story is all that matters. The book literally told me how to write this script. I don't take a lot of credit for it.

Eric Bana is Henry in The Time Traveler's Wife, opening August 14

SheKnows: Watching the film, especially someone who is unfamiliar with the book, the audience may be tempted to try to keep track of Henry's whereabouts. But, what happens, is they lose the timeframe in the love story…

Bruce Joel Rubin: We were very concerned about how to incorporate the use of time travel. It was very important that the movie not be a movie that makes you cognitively follow and not emotionally follow. I think the moment you probably got sucked into the movie is when he sees his mother on the subway.

SheKnows: Yes…

Bruce Joel Rubin: You start thinking...oh, my God. This is about something more than the manifestation of time travel. That's the emotional part of the film starting to happen. The movie allows you a richness of emotional experience – that's the key.

Up next... How were Brad and Jenn involved, and how Rachel and Eric burn up the screen!

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