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Michael Bay walked the black carpet at the film’s premiere Tuesday night at Hollywood’s TLC Chinese Theatre with castmembers Jonny Weston, Sam Lerner, Allen Evangelista, Virginia Gardner, Michelle DeFraites and Katie Garfield, in addition to first-time director Dean Israelite, co-screenwriters Jason Pagan and Andrew Deutschman, and Bay’s fellow producers, Andrew Form and Brad Fuller.
“We pride ourselves on helping first-time directors break in,” Bay explained to The Hollywood Reporter about why the project interested his team. “And Dean has really got the chops.”
The found-footage film follows a group of teenage friends who discover a time machine in a basement and begin jumping back in time. But soon they learn that their actions in the past can have negative effects on the future.
Building camaraderie among the main cast was crucial to the movie — so much so that their final audition was a little unorthodox, according to Weston. “Before we even booked it, they gave us a camera and told us to go buy one of our parents lunch at Ralphs and just film it.”
Pagan and Deutschman were well aware of the intricacies that came with writing a time-travel movie. Pagan said creating the story was similar to “weaving a very delicate sweater; if you pull one little thread, it could all fall apart and turn into a ball of yarn.”
Israelite agreed. “Everything has to continue to make sense,” he said. “You can be so excited about a particular plotline, either when you’re writing or shooting or in editorial, and then suddenly realize that it makes no sense. That can be frustrating.”
Despite the characters’ difficulties with time travel, Gardner, who plays Weston’s younger sister in the film, would still borrow the machine to fix one embarrassing moment from her past. “I accidentally sneezed on a guy’s face while going in for a kiss,” she said. “I never got a second date, in case you were wondering.”
Project Almanac was produced by Paramount and opens nationwide Friday.
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Santa Barbara International Film Festival