Rose Leslie and Theo James have been cast as the leads in The Time Traveler’s Wife, HBO’s drama series based on the romantic novel by Audrey Niffenegger. Former Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat will be writer and showrunner. Moffat, Sue Vertue, and Brian Minchin will executive produce the show through their company Hartswood Films in association with Warner Bros. Television. Warner Bros.’ New Line division produced the 2009 movie adaptation of the book that starred Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. The series is currently in pre-production. It has been a priority project for HBO since they acquired the project in a highly competitive situation with a straight-to-series order.
“I read Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife many years ago, and I fell in love with it. In fact, I wrote a Doctor Who episode called ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ as a direct response to it,” Moffat said at the time of the series’ sale to HBO. “When, in her next novel, Audrey had a character watching that very episode, I realized she was probably on to me. All these years later, the chance to adapt the novel itself, is a dream come true. The brave new world of long-form television is now ready for this kind of depth and complexity. It’s a story of happy ever after – but not necessarily in that order.”
Niffenegger’s 2003 novel tells the story of Henry DeTamble, a librarian with a genetic disorder that makes him travel involuntarily through time, and Clare Abshire, an artist who falls in love with him and has to deal with his condition. Henry and Clare’s passionate love affair endures across a sea of time and captures the two lovers in an impossible romantic trap.
The series is Leslie’s return to HBO since she was killed off on Game of Thrones. Her character Claire Abshire has had an imaginary friend since she was 6 years old: a kind and funny man, sometimes old, sometimes young, who appears in the woods behind her house and tells her stories of the future. Visits from the mysterious Henry are the bright spots in her dull childhood. As the years pass and she grows into adulthood, she starts to realize Henry is real — and a time traveler from her future. Clare has a literal date with destiny. One day she will meet a young man called Henry DeTamble, whom she will know very well but who won’t recognize her at all, and she will become the time traveler’s wife.
Henry DeTamble, who will be played by James, has been a time traveler since he was 8 years old. it’s a condition that he can’t help. He doesn’t know when he might randomly fall into the past or the future. He doesn’t know if he will be stuck in that time period for minutes or months. His life is literally unmoored and constantly dangerous. One day he meets a beautiful redhead in the library where he works. Her name is Clare Abshire, and although he’s never seen her before, she claims to have known him all her life… Sound familiar? If you’ve watched Doctor Who, you’ll know where Moffat lifted many of his timey-wimey romantic plotlines from.
HBO will announce the premiere date of The Time Traveler’s Wife at a later date. Meanwhile, you can watch Moffat’s episodes of Doctor Who on HBO Max.