It’s impossible to be 100 percent accurate. Sometimes you have to take creative liberties, explained TV producers Eric Kripke and Shawn Ryan, talking ab0ut the historical accuracy of their show “Timeless.” Their point seems awkwardly relevant to our current political situation.
“Does everyone know who Frederick Douglass was, by the way?” Georgetown historian Brian Taylor asked the crowd during a panel discussion at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History Thursday night with the cast and creators of the NBC time-traveling show.
“Yeah, he just gave a great speech the other day,” actor Malcolm Barrett, who portrays the character Rufus Carlin on the show, joked, referencing President Trump’s commentary that implied he may not know if the famous abolitionist, who died in 1895, is dead or alive.
“Timeless” has a historian on set to ensure the show doesn’t make such mistakes. While three of the show’s episodes take place in Washington, D.C., including one about Lincoln’s assassination, the show itself was filmed in Vancouver.
“They actually essentially rebuilt Ford’s Theater to scale,” actor Matt Lanter, aka Wyatt Logan to fans, said. “That would be a luxury to be able to see Ford’s Theater before we shot, but we look at as many pictures as we can.”
The show purposely addresses issues relevant to our current political climate, such as race. In the episode about the Alamo, the writers chose to focus on Bass Reeves, a black deputy U.S. Marshall who many consider “the real lone ranger.”
“Shortly before this, there was a Lone Ranger movie, where the lead character was white,” said Barrett, who is African American. “We get to reclaim these historical figures; it makes me a part of history in a way that is sometimes rejected.”