In Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, after the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar women send Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her brother, and her friend through space in order to find him. Directed by visionary filmmaker Ava DuVernay and written by one half of the Frozen team, Jennifer Lee, this film aims to bring a new heroine to the forefront at a time where families like hers need to see themselves reflected on screen.
Here’s what we found out about the film at the LA press day in anticipation of the release.
Frozen director Jennifer Lee on Ava DuVernay having the right vision for adapting the beloved children’s book:
I had daydreamed of Ava directing this and never imagined. She walked in and I said, really? Because her incredible evocative storytelling, emotional storytelling, [is] what this film needed, because this is a journey across the universe, but at the heart of it is a family story [about] empowering young girls. And Ava walked in, and she was so gracious and kind to me and embraced me in the process with her and so I’m very grateful. So right away I was smitten.
Director Ava DuVernay on treating her films as if they were children and how she wants to shine lights through them:
There’s love in every frame of this movie and there’s love in every frame of everything that I do. I don’t have children. I won’t have children by choice. These films are my children, are what I leave behind. They have my name on them, have my blood in them. And so I feel I did that. And from there, you offer it up to the world and you hope that they can see our intention. But this was an extraordinary experience for me. It’s emotional to sit here with all of them because we really held hands on this and became a family, trying to just give a little bit of sweetness to the world in these dark times. It’s a tough time right now. And so this film really saved me in a lot of ways from kind of going down dark holes and kept me in a really light-filled place, so I’m grateful for the past few years working on A Wrinkle in Time.
In a versatile turn, Zach Galifianakis plays The Happy Medium, and he spoke about being proud to work on this film alongside Ava:
I had seen the documentary that Ava had done (13th) and that alone was enough. When you’re a stand-up comic you kind of have sometimes, not a chip on your shoulder, but you don’t feel like “that’s where I come from,” and to be involved in such a big movie like this, I feel real proud. It’s nice for young boys, young men even, to see that it is okay to have a sensitive side of you. I think when young boys in this climate, they are seen as sensitive. And they’re made fun of, but that doesn’t mean they’re not, it means they’re stronger to me. And I wish we would just kind of change that. You know, I come from a very masculine upbringing and a lot of people do it. I love the way I was raised, but looking back, we need balance. It’s time for balance. I think that’s what the happy medium is. I feel real proud. Real proud.
Oprah Winfrey spoke about the differences in working with Ava on a smaller film compared to working with her on a big sweeping adventure like A Wrinkle in Time:
You’ve got the Disney machine and that’s one of the reasons why this is so exciting, that Ava DuVernay is at the helm of that. And I’ve said this before, it makes me well inside, fills my heart, every time I think about Ava and her dreads and her sneakers and these big cranes and all of these men running around, taking direction from her. And to see her be the master of that, to orchestrate all of that powerful and inspiring. And it touches I think the part of us that recognizes “oh yeah, we can do that, we’ve always been able to do that.” And I was just so proud to be associated with her and her ability to make this film possible. So that’s what was different. I was with her on a film where literally we had one day to shoot everybody coming across the bridge in Selma. You’ve got to get it before it rains, and if it rains, you’re not gonna get it. And you don’t have enough money to try it again.
Rising young talent Storm Reid on becoming the iconic character of Meg Murry, who goes on an adventure to save her dad:
I had to step in Meg’s shoes with all the situations she’s going through, because thankfully I’m not getting bullied and my dad isn’t missing and I’m not going through the things that Meg is going through. So when I did step in her shoes and then relating back to my life and my relationship with my dad, and kind of thinking about him being missing for four years really helped me bridge the gap of how I would feel and how I would go through that. So, that really helped, and then working with [Chris Pine] and seeing how focused and how intense [he was], I felt the connection and I felt like the pain and the love through that when I was working with [Chris].
Chris Pine, who plays Meg’s dad Dr. Murray, discussed working with his onscreen daughter and the hopes he has for adults to keep children pure while they can, especially in these times:
It was lovely working with Storm because she’s such an authentic human. I think too, one of the great things about this film that I loved is this idea of re-parenting. I think as kids we’re taught that there’s some sort of hierarchical structure where adults are, by virtue of their age, smarter than we as children are, where we forget that a lot of dumb kids grow up to be dumb adults. Just look at what’s happening in the world. You know there’s this verb now, where they want to “harden” schools, like the NRA’s talking about “hardening” schools. And I think, what an interesting verb: harden. You want to make the most beautiful, supple creatures on the planet, children, you want to harden? You want to harden that? I mean, what are you talking about?
The beautiful thing about this piece is that, a man that has become so rigid and structured and needy of getting the validation of his community, and he’s so hard, that he forgets the most beautiful thing on the planet, this beautiful, blooming flower of a gorgeous daughter that he has. There is no property or money or you know, none of that stuff matters – it’s this. So that moment when they meet, that’s like, the man finding his young inner child and remembering everything that’s beautiful about being a human.
Mindy Kaling on playing Mrs. Who, and what it meant to her to be part of a genre film:
I loved science fiction and fantasy growing up, but it was a genre that largely did not love me back. I never saw any representation of like a dark-skinned Indian woman, Indian girl, anybody, in anything that I saw. And it’s a really peculiar thing when you grow up loving something that shows you no love back. It’s such a pure love, because you’re not getting anything from it. I broke out in TV which was so welcoming to me, and comedy which was so welcoming to me, but to be part of this, and to be on a green screen stage in harnesses because you’re doing a science fiction fantasy movie, it’s so fun because I finally feel welcomed with open arms to something that has ignored me completely. And so, that is so profound and I think if that can be something that the miniature version of me could watch and be excited by, I think that’s such a huge thing. So that was exciting.
Oprah Winfrey on how she thinks it’s possible to be hopeful in times like this, and how the film represents that in a pure form:
I think the darkness is there to help bring out the light in all of us. And if you think about it, if we turned all the lights off in this room, and one person just held a candle, you would start to dissipate the darkness. You would banish the darkness. And look at how much darkness it would take to actually engulf all the light that every candle would hold in this room. It just takes a little bit of light. That’s what we’re hoping for, a little bit of light. And if everybody can get that message, that’s how we have hope in the world. We’re looking for warriors who can bring hope back.
A Wrinkle in Time opens in theaters this weekend.