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SYFY WIRE Cynthia Erivo

Needle in a Timestack: Leslie Odom Jr. & Cynthia Erivo are time-crossed lovers in John Ridley's new film

By Justin Carter

There have been plenty of love stories in film where the path to true love is a race against time, but in Lionsgate's sci-fi romance Needle in a Timestack, that becomes quite literal as a man travels through time to make sure he properly winds up with his soul mate.

The upcoming film stars Leslie Odom Jr. (Hamilton) as Nick, who's been given a watch to help him travel through time and ensure he ends up with his wife Janine, played by Cynthia Erivo (The Outsider). But as the new trailer shows, it's more complicated than it sounds –– mainly because Janine's ex-husband (Orlando Bloom) tries to sabotage the happy marriage.

Check out the trailer below:

It's a twisty premise, courtesy of a 1966 short story from acclaimed sci-fi writer Robert Silverberg, perhaps best known for the Majipoor books. Written and directed by award-winning comic book writer, novelist, and Oscar-winning screenwriter, John Ridley (12 Years a Slave), the film's trailer presents Nick's desire to find Janine through time and space as romantic in the way that only films can. But underneath the saccharine piano notes, there's an underlying dread as Nick starts to lose memories of his marriage and kids, while other characters, most notably Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) as his college flame, warn Nick that he may end up hurting himself in the process.

Needle has been in development for quite some time; it was first announced in 2017, back when Ridley was still working on a secret Marvel series that ultimately never saw the light of day. Since then, Ridley and the film's stars have been busy. 

Odom Jr. is starring in the upcoming Knives Out sequel, and recently won acclaim in One Night in Miami. Last year, Erivo was nominated for an Oscar for portraying Harriet Tubman in 2019's Harriet, and she played Aretha Franklin for National Geographic's Genius series. Bloom's also been returning to genre glory after his Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean days, most notably playing the lead in Amazon's Carnival Row. And Ridley? Well, he's been writing for DC Comics, including Batman, and will soon be writing Black Panther for Marvel.

Needle in a Timestack poster

Needle in a Timestack will release in select theaters and on VOD on Oct. 15. Following that limited release, it drops on Blu-ray and DVD on Oct. 19.