Released back in 1962, A Wrinkle In Time is regarded as one of the most important sci-fi novels of the last 60 years.
But it is a story that Hollywood has never been able to crack, as Meg Murry’s intergalactic pursuit of her missing father with the help of three astral travelers has always seemed too dense and complicated for the big-screen.
Following the huge success of “Frozen,” Jennifer Lee was given the backing by Disney to try and bring Madeleine L’Engle’s book to a modern audience.
I recently had the chance to speak to Lee about “A Wrinkle In Time,” and she explained exactly why it is a feminist movie that can empower anyone who watches it.
How did you first become involved with ‘A Wrinkle In Time’?
Disney have been trying to crack the book for a while. And I had just finished ‘Frozen’ and believe that a writer should write all of the time and they knew that I was looking for something.
It had been my favorite book growing up. And when I heard that they were looking for a writer I think I was in there the next day pitching a take on it.
I had thought long and hard, because I know that several people had tried over 30 something years to get it made and other than a small TV movie they hadn’t cracked it.
So I loved the challenge, but most importantly I was so in love with the book. At first I was just going to do a draft for them. So I feel very lucky to have stayed on for the whole journey.
What was the appeal?
The two main things for me was Meg’s journey. I read it when I was 10 years old and I was a girl that couldn’t seem to do a lot of things.
I was very disheveled and creative. But like a lot of creative people I couldn’t focus when I needed to. And spent a lot of time being very hard on myself.
Meg’s journey was all about, ‘You’re OK. You’re enough. Just focus on the things that matter in the world and don’t worry about yourself so much.’ I always related so much to that.
The other aspect was that it was my first science fiction film. I always loved science fiction because of ‘A Wrinkle In Time.’ And it threw me into questioning physics and science and cosmology and I am a huge lover of those subjects.
It was the perfect mash-up. It was the mash-up I had been dreaming of really.
What was the most important aspect of writing Meg?
Looking back to myself as a teenage girl, I think what is overwhelming is how much time I spent criticizing myself and comparing myself and thinking that I couldn’t get it right because I couldn’t wear the pearls and look anything other than a disheveled mess.
I couldn’t fit the models of what I was told an aspirational woman was. Through Meg though I got the chance to say, ‘None of that matters. You have a role to play in this world that is based upon exactly who you are. Accept that and embrace it.’
That’s when it comes to social media and everything that bombards us every day. Just follow who you are inside, and that will show us what to do and then make sure that you do it. Just get rid of all the other chatter.
Did you enjoy writing for these characters?
They are wonderful characters to write. What I love about all the characters that are in this they are forcing Meg to be everything that she can be, no more, no less.
Which is not easy. Because she is facing the truth and her fears. What Meg arrives at is exactly herself. But capable of far more than what she knew.
"A Wrinkle In Time" is released on March 9.