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The wonder women behind Disney's A Wrinkle in Time


It's been a long time coming, but equality in the movie industry is now the order of the day. Female-led films such as DC blockbuster Wonder Woman and this week's Oscar nominated new release Lady Bird have proved commercial and critical success stories.

Next up, it's Disney's A Wrinkle in Time, which is stocked with real-life wonder women both in front of and behind the camera. Adapted from Madeleine L'Engle's popular children's novel, it's the story of a young girl's inter-dimensional search for her missing father, and is poised to be one of 2018's most visually wondrous epics.

So, who are the women in question? Let's find out.

Name Ava DuVernay

Role Director

Documentarian extraordinaire. Black empowerment advocate. Oscar nominee. Ava DuVernay doesn't exactly fit the profile of your typical live action Disney director.

Since 2007, DuVernay has been making waves in the documentary industry, dedicating her career to giving the black community an accurate and fair representation in the media. But it was the release of Selma, a dramatisation of Martin Luther King's Selma civil rights march in 1965, that the mainstream public began to take notice.

Then Disney came knocking and enlisted DuVernay to make A Wrinkle in Time. Not only were they prepared to give her the director's chair, they also granted an eye-watering $103 million budget to get the job done – the biggest ever given to a black female director for a live action film. DuVernay just can't stop making history.

Name Oprah Winfrey

Role Actress (Mrs. Which)

Is there anyone more deserving of the 'wonder woman' tag than Oprah Winfrey? Whether it's her pioneering TV series or carrying out work as a passionate philanthropist, she continues to blaze a trail. She's also seen success as an actress, earning Oscar and BAFTA nominations in The Color Purple and The Butler.

One of her biggest fans is director Ava DuVernay, who recruited Oprah not only for Selma, but for Disney's A Wrinkle in Time as well. While Oprah's no stranger to family-friendly films – she's lent her voice to Charlotte's Web, Bee Movie and The Princess and the Frog – this is her first appearance in a live action Disney production, playing the wise, glamorous and motherly Mrs. Which.

Name Madeleine L'Engle

Role Author

With all the talented directors, writers and actors headlining A Wrinkle in Time, it's easy to forget about the most important woman of them all: Madeleine L'Engle. After all, this Disney film wouldn't even exist if L'Engle hadn't written the novel in the first place. Let's not forget, it was one of the first sci-fi novels with a female lead, let alone written by a woman, and helped pave the way for many other female authors in the field.

Born in 1918, L'Engle was seemingly always destined to be a writer, penning her first story at the age of five. Still, not everyone believed in her abilities that early on, as teachers at her New York City private school branded her clumsy and stupid. It was L'Engle who had the last laugh though, as in 1962 she produced one of the most critically acclaimed children's books in history: A Wrinkle in Time.

Sadly, L'Engle passed away in 2007, and so will not be able to see this 2018 film adaptation come to fruition. Even so, DuVernay and the rest of the cast and crew look set to honour her legacy.

Name Storm Reid

Role Actress (Meg Murry)

You might think a 14-year-old girl would look out of place on a list made up of Oscar nominees and world-famous writers, but that isn't the case with Storm Reid. The young American actress portrays A Wrinkle in Time's hero, the planet-hopping Meg Murray.

This won't be Reid's first big movie either, as back in 2013 (when she was only nine) she appeared in the Oscar winning 12 Years a Slave. While it was only a minor role, it helped springboard her career into other notable films such as sci-fi drama Sleight and the upcoming dark comedy Killing Winston Jones.

Name Reese Witherspoon

Role Actress (Mrs Whatsit)

Talking of powerful women in Hollywood, Witherspoon's rise to the top has been remarkable. Fittingly enough, she made a name for herself at a young age in Disney release A Far Off Place, before becoming a key staple of the late 1990s teen movie craze with the likes of Election and Cruel Intentions.

Superstardom arrived when she played the delightfully ditzy Elle Woods in the Legally Blonde films, and she attained artistic credibility with her Oscar win for Walk the Line. As the feisty June Carter Cash, wife of country music legend Johnny (Joaquin Phoenix), Witherspoon stole the show.

And she's not just a force in front of the camera: she's also supported many successful films as a producer, including David Fincher thriller Gone Girl. Next up: the role of celestial, ethereal being Mrs Whatsit in A Wrinkle in Time.

Name Jennifer Lee

Role Screenwriter

In the last six years, Lee has been heavily involved with three of Disney's most successful films: Wreck-It Ralph, Zootropolis and Frozen. For the latter – the highest-grossing animated film in history – Lee was not only the writer, but the co-director too.

Hard to believe that in just over a decade, Lee has gone from student writer to Disney's secret weapon, completing her very own fairy-tale story. Lee is a self-confessed super fan of the novel A Wrinkle in Time, so the personal stakes have never been higher. Can she continue her success and help turn it into a fantastic film?

Mindy Kaling

Role Actress (Mrs. Who)

There were many things to love about Pixar's Inside Out, and Kaling's perpetual sarcastic tone as the voice of Disgust was one of them. In fact, Kaling almost threatened to steal the show. Not bad when you consider the film was stocked with a host of remarkable characters including Joy (Amy Poehler) and imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind).

However, she's probably best known for her highly successful TV show The Mindy Project, which she both created and starred in. Kaling has also appeared in the American version of The Office, on which she also served as writer, executive producer and director, garnering an Emmy nomination in the process. She continues that run of success with her role in A Wrinkle in Time as Mrs. Who, another supernatural entity.

Name Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Role Actress (Mrs. Murry)

Mbatha-Raw came to widespread attention with her role in 2014 period drama Belle. The movie recounted the remarkable true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, an 18th-century mixed race women raised in white aristocratic British society. It was a movie touching on all manner of hot-button topics, chiefly racism and gender equality, and brought the actress significant acclaim.

She's also famous for starring in one of the most popular Black Mirror episodes, San Junipero. An atypically tender and sweet love story, it recounts a relationship between two women that is beset by circumstances beyond their control. Having established a solid list of acting credits, Mbatha-Raw is surely set to impress us all over again with her role as Meg's mother, Mrs. Murry.

A Wrinkle In Time is released on 23rd March. Check out the trailer and let us know @Cineworld if it's on your must-see list.

Ryan Jones is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.