Unless you’ve been living on another planet (Camazotz or Uriel, perhaps), you know that A Wrinkle in Time is coming to theaters on March 9. The classic book by Madeleine L’Engle is getting an ambitious adaptation from visionary director Ava DuVernay, who has assembled an out-of-this-world cast and crew to bring the beloved tale to life.
Back when it was filming, Oh My Disney had the chance to visit the set in Southern California and talk to some of the cast and crew. Here’s what we learned from Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, director Ava DuVernay, and more!
Reese Witherspoon’s Mrs. Whatsit is a bit like the Cheshire Cat.
As celestial beings who are billions of years old, all of the Mrs. have their fair share of wisdom. As the youngest one, however, Mrs. Whatsit is the newest to the mission of discovering warriors to fight the creeping darkness in the universe. As Witherspoon noted, Mrs. Whatsit is, “curious in playing with things … I’m basically a 12-year-old child—or younger.” This combination of silliness and smarts is just like the smirking feline from Alice in Wonderland.
Oprah’s Mrs. Which is literally a supernova.
With an incomparable level of knowledge, Mrs. Which is the natural leader of the three Misses, and who better to play such a benevolent force of nature than Oprah Winfrey herself? In the book, Mrs. Which has trouble materializing a corporeal form, but in the film, Oprah will embody her while maintaining this cosmic energy. As she puts it, Mrs. Which is “a supernova, an angel woman, a wisdom teacher who really has come to help Meg and her brother find their father.”
To bring Mrs. Which this impressive look, Oprah spent upwards of four hours in the makeup chair. She mentioned that Mrs. Which’s glistening eyebrows are made of stones from all over the cosmos to further emphasize her otherworldly nature.
Mrs. Who’s cultural references are getting an update for 2018.
Book readers will remember that Mrs. Who often speaks in famous quotations from revered writers like Shakespeare, Dante, and Euripedes. Mindy Kaling’s Mrs. Who will maintain this reliance on famous writing, but her lexicon will throw in some new thinkers. According to Winfrey, “Ava wanted to bring it up to date and make it people that we knew.” She revealed that these references will now include the hip hop duo OutKast along with other modern artists and writers that weren’t alive when L’Engle was writing her book.
Ava DuVernay’s vision for the film embraces a dark side.
DuVernay embraced a “quirkier, darker edge” when devising the visual style, and Walt Disney Studios allowed her the creative control to bring her own aesthetic to the film. While sticking to the core aspects of the book (science, spirituality, and social commentary), DuVernay is bringing her own perspective that will make the cinematic experience a unique one for moviegoers and booklovers alike.
Each of the Mrs. have a distinct look—and multiple costume changes.
The film’s costume designer, Paco Delgado, talked to us about his process for shaping each of the Mrs.’s appearances. He wanted their clothes to represent the worlds they represent and the ideas behind each character. For example, Mrs. Who is fascinated by the culture of humanity, so her look is defined by cultural signifiers from all across the globe. Her costumes draw from different cultures that span Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Her fascination with words is also expressed in her clothes through calligraphy and graffiti that is featured on some of her garments.
Delgado took a more playful approach to Mrs. Whatsit, making sure that her clothing had a lot of movement with elements of nature. Her clothes tend to have little flourishes that make you think of flowers, butterflies, and birds.
Lastly, Mrs. Which represents galactic energy and light, so Delgado opted to dress her strictly in metallics. These materials are reflective and have an armor-like quality that immediately establish her as a warrior of the light.
DuVernay built a diverse cast.
She wanted a cast that reflected the real world. In her words, “there’s nothing outstanding or outlandish about this cast. It’s outstanding and outlandish that there’s been casts without true reflections and inclusiveness of our daily lives.”
This commitment to diversity also extended to the crew, which included more women and people of color than an average movie.
The kids were naturals.
When asked if the younger actors (Storm Reid, Levi Miller, and Deric McCabe) got any advice from the veteran performers, Winfrey explained that the kids actually had a head start on set. They were working for two months before any of the Mrs. arrived, so in reality, these young performers actually had advice for Oprah!
Based on Oprah’s account, Reid’s approach to Meg Murry didn’t need any tips any way. She told us that Reid is “obviously a natural, and I said to her mother, what a great job you did raising this girl. She’s a 13-year-old girl who’s about to star in this movie, it’s built around her. And she is the most humble woman, the most grounded, the most sweet.”
There’s something for everyone in DuVernay’s interpretation of this classic book.
Every person we interviewed emphasized how A Wrinkle in Time cannot be summed with one simple conclusion. The book means so many to things to so many different groups of people, and the film aims to honor that multitude of meanings. As DuVernay put it:
“Some people might watch this and see a sci-fi adventure, some might watch it and see romance, some might watch it and see a story about math nerds, some might watch it and see girl power, and others might watch it and see a family story.”
Regardless of genre, nearly everyone we spoke to mentioned how much the message of “being a warrior” for the good in life resonated with them. Once A Wrinkle in Time is out in theaters, we’re sure we’ll be saying the same thing. Make sure to pick up your tickets tomorrow, February 22!