Talking with A WRINKLE IN TIME’s celestial stars

The new science-fiction film, A WRINKLE IN TIME is a present day snapshot of a 56-year-old novel (by Madeleine L’Engle), about a middle age girl on a planetary journey—in other words, a smart girl in another world, full of fantasy and wonderment.

Oprah embodies 21st Century “Girl Power”

A visual delight for teens and tweens, A WRINKLE IN TIME is steeped in adventure, the pursuit of heartfelt desires and the value of family love.

It is a rallying cry to push past limits whether self-imposed or put upon by external forces; it is a journey into self-discovery for a bright young girl who didn’t know her true potential until forced to go the distance, putting fear in the rear view mirror, theoretically speaking.

It is the story of an intelligent girl that developed a friendship with a young boy born out of innocence, mutual admiration, trust and respect.

It is a story about relationships—the authentic ones you cherish, the deceitful ones you disregard.

It is the story of a brave girl whose relationship with her father exposed her to a world with no limits—a world that would bring them even closer.

Meg Murry (Storm Reid) is a typical middle school student struggling with issues of self-worth who just wants to fit in. The daughter of two world-renowned physicists, she is intelligent and uniquely gifted, as is her younger brother, Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), but Meg has yet to realize it for herself.

Complicating matters is the mysterious disappearance of her father four years ago, which has left Meg devastated and her mother heartbroken, and while friends and faculty at school urge her to move on, Meg knows he is still alive.

Before he vanished, Mr. Murry (Chris Pine) was tracking events in the cosmos when he discovered tessering, a wrinkling of time and space through which intergalactic travel is possible, but it is still an unproven theory, and one the scientific community regards with much skepticism.

One night, Charles Wallace, Meg and a fellow classmate, Calvin (Levi Miller), meet three otherworldly visitors who have traveled to Earth with an important message for Meg: her father’s discovery is, in fact, an extraordinary accomplishment, but “a darkness” has infiltrated the universe and he is now in grave danger.

Together they set off in search of Mr. Murry with Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) and Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) as their guides, tessering to worlds beyond their imagination and confronting the powerful, evil energy face-to-face. But in order to save her father, Meg must first overcome her own flaws and insecurities and harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness…and it is a journey she must come to on her own.

During a discussion held in Los Angeles for A WRINKLE IN TIME, I sat with the film’s celebrated director Ava Duvernay (“Selma,” “13th,” “Middle of Nowhere,” “I Will Follow”), along with Storm Reid and Oprah Winfrey.

A side note, Ms. O looks marvelous, redefining awesome in her 60’s.

Oprah Winfrey and Ava Duvernay enjoy a great working relationship in film and television.

On the value of friendship, Oprah described hers with Ava —

“I have always acknowledged God in my life and the journey that LIFE courses…LIFE can dream a bigger dream for you—one that you could never dream for yourself; so I live my life leaning into God’s dream, LIFE’s dream for me. Because I do, wonderful things show up as a result.”

I purposely sought Ava’s friendship. I could feel a connection from looking at her online page…then I Googled her.

“A few years back, when working on the film, Selma, David Oyelowo (Lincoln, Selma, Middle of Nowhere) had given me a tape of Ava’s film that he starred in, Middle of Nowhere. He had given it to me when we were sitting on set in the trailer and I never accept tapes. But I agreed to play the tape. After seeing that film I appreciated the work. Then, when I heard she did it with little to no money, I Googled her.

“When I saw her picture on Google… it was the [eye] glasses. Ava wears glasses too. We have similar brown skin and she reflected a warm inviting presence. I thought, ‘I’m going to be her friend.’ But I haven’t made friends in a long time so I really wasn’t sure how to go about doing that. What should you do? Do you do just call up and say, ‘I want to be your friend.’ So I ended up having an event at my house because I thought if she could attend and bring her mother maybe she’d be my friend. Literally, I had an event at my house, created just so I could meet Ava DuVernay. So I manifested that [her friendship] for myself.

“When she showed up I knew that we were going to be friends, but, I didn’t want to be one of ‘those people’ because people do this to me all the time. They show up and look like they’re needy or they want something. I didn’t want her to think, ‘Oh, I want to be in your movie.’ I was trying to play it cool and look what happened—we became friends is exactly what ended up happening. I think that then, she didn’t want to, and she never wants to be in the position to have to ask me to do something. And, I didn’t want to be in the position to have to do something. But everybody needs to know that I would have been there for her.”

With that, Duvernay chimed in, “We don’t ask each other for favors, we’re just friends.”

Oprah continued, “It was that way with Maya [Angelou]. She didn’t bring me stuff because everybody’s got a tape and a song …”

Oprah also shared an invaluable life lesson on learning to trust the voice within—

“There is a difference between the voice in your head and the voice in your heart. The voice in your heart is your internal GPS (global positioning system) and every one of us has it. The difference between the successes I’ve been able to achieve somewhat effortlessly and those that did not come effortlessly is the difference between listening to the inner call of the heart versus not listening.

The late Dr. Maya Angelou (left) with spiritual daughter and confidante, Oprah, who shared a journey of lifetime wisdom and mutual admiration.

“Another thing Maya [Angelou] used to say to me all the time was, ‘Babe,one of the reasons I can see the hand of God all over you is your call to be obedient. You are obedient to his call.’ So I can sit here and tell you that the difference between the voice of life–by all the definitions that we call God–in the world and my own voice is when I have been wise enough and centered enough to listen to that call and not to what my head is saying or what everybody else is saying. I don’t care if a million people are saying it.”

Comparing this film to another ageless sci-fi fantasy for young audiences, Oprah agreed that A WRINKLE IN TIME is this generation’s E.T.

On being an intergalactic time traveler–

Duvernay reminisced, “I used to dream of it during childhood. I used to love these kinds of movies–I loved The NeverEnding Story (1984), I loved The Pagemaster (1994) and I loved Escape to Witch Mountain (1975). I used to want to be the twin who had telepathic powers but I don’t have a twin and I couldn’t talk to my twin in my head (laughter) but I always thought about those things when I was young. Although I saw those movies I never saw anyone like me in those movies.

Actor, writer, producer Mindy Kaling

“Recently, I heard Mindy (Kaling) say something that really moved me. She said of the genre, ‘I used to love science fiction fantasy movies, but they didn’t love me.’ Now, to think that you can make this kind of movie in present day, there are all kinds of girls [and boys] who can see themselves and imagine themselves in it. It is important that they see kids of color leading the adventure. It is important for Caucasian boys and girls to see that a girl can lead, that a person of color can lead. So, yes, I always dreamed of flying.”

Storm Reid

Storm Reid, the onscreen time traveler replied, “I want to say that I’ve imagined so much growing up and I’m only 14 (laughter). But, when I was younger, I wouldn’t say that I imagined myself flying or being a time traveler. I did see films where people were doing that but this is my first experience seeing or actually experiencing something like that. I love movies like Matilda with a strong, independent, smart little girl who could do things on her own. I wanted to be like Matilda. I wanted to be strong and smart, to be able to do things on my own. So I wouldn’t say that I saw myself flying but I did have other examples to make me feel like I was a strong, brave, beautiful little black girl.”

Alex and Ani, retail jewelers of an affirming messages product line, teamed with Ava Duvernay and Disney Studios on A WRINKLE IN TIME; learn more about them here,

The film’s soundtrack includes music from acclaimed recording artists: Sade, Chloe x Halle, Demi Lovato, DJ Khaled, Kehlani and Sia.

A WRINKLE IN TIME is a beautiful, affecting, family film in theaters March 9th.

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