Timeless‘ Abigail Spencer has found herself on an interesting journey as Lucy Preston on the fan-favorite series, not just as an actress but as a person, given the path the show itself has taken.
Canceled after season one, uncanceled three days later and renewed for season 2, canceled again after the season 2 finale and, while it hasn’t been renewed (yet), Timeless is returning for a two-hour finale event on December 20 to give fans the story closure they were hoping for.
I recently talked to Spencer and, I admit, I let my fan side come out early. But, hey, that’s what we do here, right?
What was going through Lucy’s mind when Wyatt finally said he loved her?
The great thing about great love, in a great love story, the moment comes when one character finally realizes it. The other person’s been holding out hope, and just when that person lets that person go they show up. So… Lucy had really come to terms with letting Wyatt go. I mean he had chosen his wife, which she totally understands. His wife came back from the dead. There’s no situation where Lucy was gonna put up a fight about it.
She has been working to get herself into a better place and not holding out hope for him… it’s bittersweet. It’s like, “Oh my gosh I’m hearing everything I want to hear, and yet I don’t know where I’m at with it anymore because I had to let it go.”
— Timeless (@TimelessSPTV) December 14, 2018
We know we’ll see two time trips from what we’ve seen in pictures. Can you tell me a little bit more about those time periods? Any identification you can give us about where we might be going?
I can tell you that the first place we go takes place on Christmas Eve, the second place we go is on Christmas Day. You can do your research to see what time periods match. We go into communities of minority. Kind of keeping in tone with season 2 where we were really exploring the untold stories.
I can tell you that as big and epic as the historical moments are as a backdrop… the human stories are more intimate and personal.
If, hopefully when, you guys get another season, what time period and what historical figures would you want to meet? Where would you still like to go?
The cool concept of the show is history is limitless. There are endless possibilities.
Shawn Ryan always had an idea. A young Martin Luther King before he became Martin Luther King. I loved that idea. I love how you explore someone before they are, like on their way to becoming.
Also, I really would have loved to spend some time with Eleanor Roosevelt. She would have been a really fabulous human to explore.
A particularly ripe time for me is Greenwich Village in the ’20s. That was a big, explosive activist and art scene. There are all of these untold women’s stories from that time period.
Knowing everything Lucy’s been through what advice would you give her?
I feel like she’s been on the journey of her life and I love her arc. The advice I would have given her is where she ends up.
She’s a woman who started with “history is perfect” and “History has to stay the same and we have to protect the people in power and powerful historical figures”. To hell with everything else. There’s a line that she says in the movie, “What’s the point of saving history if we don’t save the people in it?”
That’s a huge turnaround.
That’s what I see Lucy doing, really starting to make proactive choices. She’s a character where everything was happening to her. By the time we get to the movie, she’s really activating change and taking control of her destiny.
Tfun thing we would have been able to explore more in series is telling more historical stories and spending time with versions of the characters in different timelines in a “Sliding Doors” scenario.
Now that we know there’s the ability to cross timelines are we gonna get any of that in the movie?
We are going to get some of that but maybe not in the way you think. Really we pick up where we left off. Lucy cross Tomb Raider and DIY.
Tomb Raider Lucy is my favorite.
I would’ve really liked to spend a season playing her, I’m not gonna lie.
Future Lucy and Wyatt are really a cautionary tale, that’s what we discover in the movie. That was something I was surprised to discover and I really liked it.
Obviously the fans have been so supportive. They’ve pulled this show back from the brink twice. Do you think they can do it another time?
We’ve been canceled twice and brought back twice. I guess anything is possible. Anything is possible, anything can happen, anything happens all the time.
I think what does have to happen for more Timeless to be made is people have to watch it live. Really that’s the only thing we haven’t gotten, are the live viewership numbers. Clearly, people have found it and watch it as people do watch things now. People watch things when they watch it, on their time and on their terms. Timeless has still been living on NBC, and at the end of the day, live numbers are the highest value for major networks. That’s no fault of anyone, it’s just a different model. The thing that would have to happen is something radical would have to happen to the live numbers during the Christmas special.
What’s been the most surprising thing about all this for you and how has this experience changed you?
Well, it has changed me tremendously as all experiences do. Professionally it was an incredible creative challenge. We made 30 different movies. We explored 30 different historical moments in time.
Timeless is a huge feat. We were right next door to This is Us last year. They would just see our monstrosity of our costumes and background and sets and they were like, “We don’t understand [how you’re doing this].”
— Abigail Spencer (@abigailspencer) December 7, 2018
We need women on screen whose superpower is their brain, whose cape is their intelligence and their humor, and who are not overtly or in any way sexualized. Aren’t the wife, the mother, the sister. It really empowered me to be at the forefront of a show people loved that was as intelligent and excellent and difficult to produce. It gave me a tremendous amount of confidence. It encouraged me to keep going.
And on a personal note, it was probably the first thing I’ve done that my son could watch. I’ve kind of been mostly working in the cable indie world of sophisticated adult storylines that he hasn’t been able to see. This is the first show he’s watched and he loves it. So that was a win for me as a mom.
Any message you’d like to give to the fans?
Well, I’ll have them know I burst into tears when Malcolm was wrapped. They should know Matt Lanter gave me the biggest gloved — it was like freezing cold when I wrapped — but he clapped his heart out when I wrapped at 5:00 in the morning.
Just a wholehearted thank you for being on the adventure and the support and the journey. I’ll probably never find the words to let everyone know how much it has meant to me and how much it has blown me away. Just a very deep, with every fiber of my being, thank you.
caption this real time team text between my brothers in arms @MattLanter @verbalberappin & me! keep it clean! & then maybe I’ll reveal what we were really commiserating about ;) (ps. two weeks till the #Timeless movie premiere!) 👩🏻🧔🏿👱🏼♂️. pic.twitter.com/Se9sjmQfxO
— Abigail Spencer (@abigailspencer) December 7, 2018