Though there have been a few film adaptations of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time, none come as close to the size and scope of Ava DuVernay’s vision. The film, which was released earlier this year, will be available home entertainment in a few short weeks.
Though it was met with mixed reviews, many appreciated the DuVernay take and unique spin on the children’s novel. Rather than take a traditional adaptive route, the director wanted to be sure to include diversity while also addressing social commentary, spirituality, science, romance, science fiction, and adventure. And there’s no doubt that she was able to capture all of those themes into one film.
We talked to Catherine Hand, a producer, and two of the film’s stars Storm Reid, who plays Meg, the film’s lead; and Deric McCabe, who plays Charles Wallace, Meg’s inquisitive younger brother.
Hand said one of the things that resonated with her the most was that it almost mirrored her life, particularly the brother and sister relationship. Like Meg, Hand felt very protective of her younger brother. But it was what Meg was able to do that connected with her the most. “When I was a little girl, never in my mind had I thought that the daughter could do something her father couldn’t,” Hand said. “She was the one who had to save her brother, not her father. Also, she was the one to apologize to her father for being so angry at him.”
She said when she first read the book as a young girl, she often wondered what would happen if one of the Mrs came to her door to whisk her away on some cosmic adventure. “The book made me feel very smart,” Hand said. “I was so curious because when they find out that the dark thing has been encircling the earth, I read the book in 1963, a lot of really bad things had gone on that year. So the grown-ups, that I was around, were aware of the dark times. So somehow in my young life, that made perfect sense to me.”
Hand said she learned a lot about the book from Madeleine and what the book meant to her. She added that she gained a whole new perspective on the book from that one meeting and reading it as a mother.
One of the takeaways Hand hopes fans see is that we should cherish the relationships that we have now. “Meg does not see the love around her on her journey,” Hand said. “So when she comes home she is able to see the light. She is able to have found the happy medium. She is able to realize how much she loves her brother, who she thought made her life more difficult. And realize her father cannot solve all of her problems.”
The second lesson came from Madeleine, who told Hand that “one of the hardest things that any of us had to ever to do is to become fully who we are.” She says that is why people resonate with faults and the idea of faults. “Your faults will come in handy,” Hand said. “Because being who you are, faults and all is what you need to be. So I think that is an important lesson, particularly for young girls.”
The third lesson is that “love is action.” Because what Meg does is out of the love for her brother. However, she also could not have accomplished this without her brother, who gave her the courage to overcome the darkness.
Hand also explained some of the omissions from the book. For her, it was important to make sure that it was accessible to a wider audience and not just be something for those who read the book. “Yes there are changes in the movie, it was Ava [Duvernay] to change as the director. There was so much written about a young biracial young girl, a first black female director,” Hand said. “The thing is when you are looking for diversity, you are going to have a diverse narrative. A new way. A new voice. So, of course, I wish there were things in the movie or they didn’t have to be changed, but the book is there. It isn’t going away.”
As for choosing Ava DuVernay, Hand said they were looking for some of the best directors. But she came across an article about how difficult it was for women to get a director’s job in this industry. Because this is a heroine’s journey, Hand believed that if there was anyone who should direct a film like A Wrinkle In Time, it had to be a woman. “It was a very short list of woman who was appropriate, and Ava was at the top of our list,” Hand said.
Storm Reid, who plays Meg, says she had so much fun to work with such a fantastic cast and crew, who made it feel more like family than work. She looks at it as if “it was meant to be then it was meant to be.” Deric McCabe said while it may have been a challenge to have fun and film, he said it was easy because he was working with Storm.
Like Hand, Reid says there is a lot to take away from watching A Wrinkle In Time. “I feel like everyone has to go through a journey and everyone has their own story, whether it’s their circumstances or an environmental change,” Reid said. “I feel like you really see Meg grow throughout her journey. I feel like it gives the person confidence and compassion to see a person grow and she really finds the light in the darkness to save herself and save the world, and I really feel that we can do that as people to save ourselves and the world, and make the world a better place. “
Going into the physicality of the film, the two had to go through some training in order to prep them for the wirework. Reid says the wirework wasn’t easy at first, but she credits DuVernay for helping her through the process. “I’m really thankful for Ms. Ava because she is so hands-on in everything so it was important for her to make sure we were comfortable not only with the script but with the wirework and the green screen,” Reid said. She added that it was a lot of fun.
McCabe said it was a challenge because of the layers of clothes and harnesses. But it was easy for him because he was energetic.
Of course, the two have their own lessons that they learned while filming A Wrinkle In Time. “Constant graciousness. Even though my mom instilled that in me, I really got to see that first hand with Ms. Orpah, Ms. Mindy [Kaling], Ms. Reese [Witherspoon], and even Mr. Zach [Galifianakis] and Mr. Chris [Pine], they are so humble, even though they have been in this industry for a long time,” Reid said. “You could tell they have love for the industry still, so I just want to always be that way in life and in whatever I am doing.”
For McCabe, he says learned that there was “always more to come” from Oprah.
A Wrinkle in Time DVD and Blu-ray hits store shelves on June 5, 2018.
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