Category: Timeline News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: April 26, 2002 | Publication: Press Association | Author: Rachel Blackburn, PA News in Los Angeles
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Comedian Billy Connolly is to play a time-travelling history professor who ends up stranded in 14th century France in a new film.

The actor will join a host of other British stars including ex-Brookside actress Anna Friel and her partner David Thewlis in the film, Timeline.

The time-travel Paramount Pictures movie is based on a best-selling thriller by Jurassic Park author Michael Crichton. A spokesman for the studio said that Connolly will star in the film, currently shooting in Montreal, Canada, as Professor Edward Johnston who goes missing during an archeological dig at a medieval site in France.

The role reteams the 59-year-old Glaswegian with fellow Scot Gerry Butler who made his film debut as Connolly's brother in Mrs Brown.

Welsh actor Michael Sheen, the long-term partner of actress Kate Beckinsale, also stars in Timeline.

Directed by Richard Donner, best known for the Lethal Weapon series, the plot focuses on a group of archaeologists and students working on a French dig.

When their team leader Professor Johnston mysteriously disappears, they discover that the technology company sponsoring the dig has created a method of faxing objects back in time.

Their professor is stuck in France in 1357 and the students follow him there to attempt a rescue mission.

Once there, they are caught amid the Hundred Years War between England and France and the group must survive a perilous era.

Friel, 25, plays Lady Claire, a 14th century heroine whom the students meet during their time-travels, in the 60 million film.

Several studios bid for the film rights to the Crichton novel three years ago with Paramount Pictures winning the auction.

Donner said in a recent interview that he has wanted to make a movie based on a Crichton best-seller for years.

"I've always wanted to do a Michael Crichton book," Donner said. "So when this one came along and I got the opportunity, I grabbed it."

Shooting on Timeline kicked off at the start of this month and will continue for the next three months.

The film, the 12th of Crichton's 13 novels to be made into a film, is likely to open next year.

Copyright 2002 The Press Association Limited