“A Wrinkle in Time” Press Conference: Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Ava DuVernay and More Talk About Bringing Film to Life

Hi everyone!

We sent a correspondent to the press conference in Hollywood for A Wrinkle in Time, which opens March 9th, 2018. The actors and filmmakers in attendance were director Ava DuVernay, actors Oprah Winfrey (Mrs. Witch), Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who), Chris Pine (Mr. Murry), Zach Galifianakis (Happy Medium), Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Mrs. Murry), Storm Reid (Meg), Levi Miller (Calvin), Deric McCabe (Charles Wallace), Rowan Blanchard (Veronica Kiley) and screenwriter Jennifer Lee.

Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

The first question from host Tanika Ray was to Jennifer Lee (best known for writing and directing the huge hit Frozen) about adapting the script for the film and what the first meeting was like with DuVernay, who directed Wrinkle in Time. Lee said, “It was fantastic, actually. I had daydreamed of Ava directing this…this is a story across the universe but the heart of it is a family story.”. She continued, “Right away, I was smitten”. DuVernay returned the compliment, saying how Lee created Frozen and that she was a “legend in our midst”.

DuVernay said about Wrinkle in Time, “This is a film for young people, and people who are young at heart. And for me, I had to ask myself (to laughter), ‘Do I still have a heart? And is there an inner child still in me…?’ I got to do that for two years”.

Storm Reid as Meg is fantastic in the film, and has already been acting in movies for about five or six years. Reid was asked what she was feeling with the film just about to release in theaters. Reid answered that she was excited and hadn’t yet been nervous, but that, ” I think I’ll be a little bit nervous tomorrow, because I feel like this is our…baby and this is the thing that we created and we love it so much and it’s so great. We’re giving it over to people for them to criticize, or for them to like it or love it or not like it at all. So that’s a little bit nerve wracking.” She called the movie a blessing and said she’s really proud of it.

The host said to Winfrey that it was like art imitating life, that the role seemed tailored for her – and did Oprah feel that way? She said quickly, “Yes I did.” After the audience stopped laughing, Oprah – also laughing, continued, “As a matter of fact, I actually did. You all have heard me say this before and it’s so true, Ava and I are like talking on the phone and…when she went to New Zealand and posted pictures scouting for New Zealand…I had been in New Zealand the year before – in Auckland, and did not get to the South Island. And I had wanted to do that. Everyone says, ‘You didn’t get to the South Island, you haven’t really seen New Zealand”. So when she heard she was going to be filming in New Zealand, (turning to DuVernay), she said, “I’m going’. I’m just going to go.” She told DuVernay that she was going to block out her schedule and go watch her shoot the film “because I can”. After the laughter subsided, Winfrey said that DuVernay asked her, “Why not take a look at the script?”. DuVernay didn’t want to pressure Winfrey because of their friendship so she hadn’t even asked Winfrey, but without even looking at the script, Winfrey said she’d do it, and called it a delight to be in the movie.

Reese Witherspoon said she had a similar story to Oprah in that her agent called her up to be in A Wrinkle in Time directed by DuVernay and Witherspoon immediately said “Yes!” She said that it was very flattering to be chosen to be in one of Ava’s movies, because “she doesn’t just make a movie, she makes an experience for everyone”. Witherspoon expounded on that saying that DuVernay “cares about what happens in front of the camera and she cares about what happens behind the camera. Everybody feels like they are important, special, honored…valued for their contributions. And I feel like this was a master class in how to be a very thoughtful filmmaker and a real visionary.”. Witherspoon said, “It was a privilege and an honor, and I got to be this amazing celestial person – who hangs out with Oprah and Mindy all day”! (more laughter). Oprah chimed in, “Score!”

There is so much more to the press conference, we have the whole conference below!