EXCLUSIVE: UK director Carl Tibbetts (Retreat, Black Mirror) is now in the director’s chair on Timeless, the science fiction project scripted by Bill Kelly (Enchanted, Premonition). Story tracks a twentysomething surfer who sets out to build a time-travel machine after his wife dies in an accident. He taps a young Harvard physicist to help make the impossible a reality. Kelly first sold the spec in 2010 when Phillip Noyce was attached to direct. Now new financier Nicolas Veinberg and Defiant Pictures have come aboard, and Sunil Perkash (Salt, Enchanted, Premonition) will produce alongside Veinberg and Lucas Jarach. Relativity Media, which made the initial spec deal, is circling for domestic distribution. Tibbetts made his feature debut with the sci-fi thriller Retreat starring Cillian Murphy, Thandie Newton, and Jamie Bell. He’s casting for the Timeless shoot next spring in Gran Canaria, Spain, where producers aim to take advantage of generous 38% local tax incentives. Defiant Pictures’ upcoming slate includes Charlize Theron starrer Dark Places and Wild Oats starring Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange. Tibbets is repped by Verve, Independent in the UK and Attorney Doug Stone. Kelly is repped by WME.