ER favourite Goran Visnjic is back on TV this fall as a criminal who steals a time machine on NBC and Global’s new series Timeless. Visnjic’s character, Garcia Flynn, is set to change the course of American history and possibly destroy the world. We chat with the actor about playing Timeless’ antagonist, if travelling through time will affect the other characters and that Madonna video he did in the late ‘90s.
The first episode death with the Hindenburg and the second episode will feature the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. How should an international audience approach this series? Will there be any key moments that will take place in other countries?
I think that the first two events are very familiar in European history books. The Hindenburg disaster was viewed as a much bigger event in Europe. We learned about it in high school. The Abraham Lincoln assassination was a global event at such a critical time.
Sean Maguire is set to play Ian Fleming in an upcoming episode! Will the time travellers be going back in time to just the U.S. or will they be travelling elsewhere?
We’re going to be involved in a plot in Northern Germany around the end of the Second World War. That’s where we’ll meet Ian Fleming.
TV fans will remember your 10-year stint on ER as the good guy, Dr. Luka. Is it more fun playing the bad guy this time around?
I look at him more of an antagonist. Sure, he steals the time machine and that starts this whole chain reaction because a team has to stop him but in the next couple of episodes we’ll find out why he’s doing certain things. It’ll be part of a bigger mystery.
So we’ll start seeing layers. It’s not just black or white.
It would be boring to just play the bad guy who goes around and causes destruction but this show is going to explain the reasoning behind his actions and the way he struggles with those actions. That’s what makes this role more appealing.
When Lucy (Abigail Spencer) came back to the present at the end of the first episode, her life was altered. She no longer has a sister but her mother is healthy. Will some of the other time travellers experience similar situations?
Yes, of course! That’s what’s fun about this show. Each time they come back, there will be certain things that will be different. Sometimes my character will succeed in changing the events he wants to while sometimes they’ll succeed in stopping him. But no matter what, there will be some small changes in the past which will affect the present. Every time they come back, they’ll need to figure out what’s different.
Is there a time in history that you’d like to go back to?
So many… Maybe I’d like to see the pyramids being built in ancient Egypt? Or medieval times.
What TV show are you binging?
Game of Thrones. I just finished the latest season and I loved it. It was pretty amazing.
What’s your favourite show of all time?
I enjoyed Stargate SG-1.
What was it like to play chess with Madonna in “The Power of Good Bye”?
[Laughs] I don’t think we played a real game! It was a great experience. That was 20 years ago! I enjoyed working with her.
Timeless airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on Global and NBC.