Matt Lanter Talks Timeless Wool Costumes And Fight Training

With NBC's Timeless premiering this week, we spoke with star Matt Lanter.

On the Timeless panel for the Television Critics Association, producers Eric Kripke and Matt Lanter revealed that they are doing upcoming episodes on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, and one going as far back as the 1750s. They also cited Quantum Leap as a role model for making time travel accessible, being able to visit a different era every week. 

That night, we interviewed Timeless star Matt Lanter at NBC’s TCA party. Lanter plays Wyatt Logan, who along with Lucy Preston (Abigail Spencer) and Rufus Carlin (Michael Barrett), must chase Garcia Flynn (Goran Visnjic) through time to prevent him from changing history. Timeless premieres Monday, October 3 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Den of Geek: Wyatt fits in pretty well at the Hindenberg. Do any time periods throw him for a loop?

Matt Lanter: I think he’s thrown for a loop in certain situations. We kind of did see that he walks into that bar and he’s using contemporary language, but I don’t know. We’ve actually only seen a couple episodes from these guys. We know a few more ideas, so we don’t really know exactly what’s coming down the pike for us. I think they’re all out of sorts. In some ways, Lucy is a little bit more comfortable with the places that they’re going and the things that they’re doing than Wyatt is, because he doesn’t know. There’s sort of a fear of the unknown and screwing things up. I guess we’ll kind of see.

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It seems a little James Bond-like, falling in love with a Depression-era reporter. Will he have a love interest in every time he visits?

No, I don’t think so. I think in that pilot episode, we saw that character very much reminded him of his wife. I think we set that up to establish that he had lost his wife in the past and that it’s going to be a recurring thing for him. The idea of time travel and him now being able to go back, can he go back and save his wife? I don’t think we’re going to see a love interest every time period but I don’t know. You never know. I’m actually interested also, I think there could be a little something starting to boil with the Lucy/Wyatt thing. They’re thrust into this situation that no one else is able to bond with them over except Rufus. I could see that happening too.

It’s funny people say Lucy and Wyatt. I could more see Goran Visnjic’s character biding his time. He knows they’re going to be together and he’s just waiting.

You know, that’s interesting because he obviously, in the pilot, comes from a place of he’s one step ahead of us, or two steps or whatever. He knows something more than what we know at this point. That’s a possibility. 

The 1750s is before colonial America even. How do you think Wyatt will fit in there?

I don’t know. I think that depending on what his specific job is going to be on that mission, right now his main mission is to kill Garcia Flynn. I don’t know. I don’t know if he’s still going to be running around then or not. I’m not sure. 

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Do you have scenes with Abraham Lincoln in the Ford Theater episode?

I don’t speak with him. I don’t want to give too much away but he’s very much a presence, obviously, in the episode. Our Abraham Lincoln, because it’s hard to take such a well known figure and put him on the screen and have everyone believe it, so I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say we don’t have a lot of direct one on one interaction, conversation with Abraham Lincoln himself. It’s sort of happening a little bit around him. I personally feel that’s better because you kind of get into a place where if you’re showing these famous historical figures, Does it get sort of cheesy showing these people and having them talk? I don’t know. In this one, we don’t see Abraham Lincoln talking and interacting with our main characters too much. 

Is there a lot of action every week for you?

So far, yes. The pilot, yes. This one coming up here, I’m going back on Friday. We’re shooting the first day of the new episode on Friday but I’m fight training for the first episode which we’re tacking on one extra day on Saturday, which is a huge fight thing for me. I’ve been doing a little bit of fight training and choreography. That continues into our next episode, another fight. I don’t know if that’s going to stop any time soon.

Have you dreamed of this, having fight training and stunts in your roles?

It’s a blast. It’s fun to do. If there’s ever a time where I can do a stunt or do a fight and do it myself and make it look good, I’m game for it. But yeah, it’s a lot of fun. As a young boy and even now, watching movies with James Bond and Indiana Jones and Han Solo, these guys kick butt. We kind of all want to be them. It’s exciting.

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Is there a particular martial art you’re training in?

There’s not really one style that I’m training in particularly. I wrestled in high school so I actually have a bit of a base in grappling. No, there’s not one. We’re doing a little bit of hand to hand stuff. Delta Force and a lot of these Special Forces guys, they do train in a hand to hand type combat, sort of a Krav Maga type of thing. Krav Maga is a little more Russian oriented but I digress. Not one specific thing. Kind of a combination of things.

Do you have more wardrobe fittings for Timeless than any other job you’ve had?

Yes. Doing 90210 or something like that is pretty easy. My character, Liam, was flannel shirt and a T-shirt and good to go. This one obviously we’re fitting different time periods, with Union soldier costumes, I heard we’re doing the space race. I don’t know, I might be fitted a space costume, I don’t know. Yeah, every episode, new stuff.

Is the space race from the American perspective, like The Right Stuff?

I actually have no idea. The first time I’ve heard about the space race stuff was today so I’m excited about it. 

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So far, which eras costumes have been the hardest to get right and make sure they fit?

Right now, we’re doing 1865 and I’ll tell you, the Union soldier uniforms are hot because it’s all wool. 

And it’s still summer in Vancouver.

It’s like 80-something degrees up there. We’re on stages right now that there’s no air. We’re sweating it out right now but it’ll change. 

What are your favorite time travel movies or shows?

Oh man, Back to the Future is so classic. I remember watching Quantum Leap when I was a kid with my family so I think that’s fun and nostalgic. 

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Shawn and Eric said they like it too.

It was a fun show and I don’t think they’re basing it off Quantum Leap or anything but it’s certainly a model to want to pay attention to because it worked. People love it.