Exclusive Interview with Screenwriter Jennifer Lee bring A Wrinkle In Time from Novel to Screen #WrinkleInTimeEvent Wednesday 14 March, 2018

More A Wrinkle In Time interviews, and this film was translated from novel to screen with the help of Jennifer Lee. We know Jennifer Lee as the amazing Oscar-winning Director of FROZEN, now the screenwriter for A Wrinkle In Time and the bloggers and I got a chance to sit down and have an intimate convo with her. It was great to talk to her about the process of creating this film from the classic novel, working with Ava together and what inspired her to be a storyteller.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

Jennifer explains bringing A Wrinkle In Time novel from book to screen 

It was a challenge but it was one – when I heard they were looking for a writer, I was like, “Oh oh oh!” ‘Cause I had loved it as a kid, my daughter was actually reading it. So – for 5th grade, if anyone’s like 5th grade. So I was reading it again and I just –I kept saying, I had a whole take on it. But I wanted to try it. And what I loved is, Disney really responded to acknowledging that. Like I wasn’t trying to do the book, adapting it for the film, it was very much clear that like, I don’t want to try to be the book.

Photo Courtesy of Disney

If we try to be the book we’ll fail. But showing our love for the book, showing sort of how much inspiration there is in the book. And how much the – how strong the journey is in the book. I could stay true to that, then we might have a chance of finally getting it made. ‘Cause it’s been years of trying. So I’m – and then of course, when Ava joined, that was the final magic piece of the puzzle

…And then we brought the cast in and they brought a lot to it. We – Chris Pine loved the science. So when we met with Dr. Alexander, he met with us too. And we have these great conversations about quantum physics. It’s a lot more about getting deeper and talking a lot. And really connecting from the ground up, with something – particular important is something so fantastical. So that’s kind of the four years in two minutes, maybe.

Jennifer speaks on the detailed writing process for A Wrinkle In Time 

I tend to write in the mornings and then I can edit and give notes, some things in the afternoons. So it was my morning writing time. But then I would go into animation in the afternoons and do that part of my job as well. So for me it was more of like an every morning thing. But I spent about a year and a half to almost two years, just writing. And doing – and I would show – I worked very closely with Jim Whittaker and Catherine Hand, the producers, creatively. And then with the studio, getting notes. And what I loved is the notes were always about deepening. There was never anything sort of about the size or scope or “too big, too sma- “, there was nothing.

It was always, “this family”. And then there comes a time where they go out to directors. And look for interest. 

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

On working with Ava (director) on bringing the vision of A Wrinkle In Time to life

I had thought of Ava, only ’cause I thought that’s what it’s gonna take to do – you can do – someone who can do science fiction, you could do all that. But what you really need is someone who can like, very evocative. And make you feel something that you never felt before. Do it in such a way that is so grounded in truth. And when they brought her in, I was shocked and couldn’t have been more thrilled.

So then we go to the next phase, which is we work with – what I – she sort of, it becomes her film, it has to be. And she didn’t even have to keep me on, she could have rewritten it herself. She’s an amazing writer. But luckily she wanted to keep me around. [LAUGHS] So, but we would just spend – first it was a lot of conversations. And we talked deeper and deeper of the characters. She wanted to get her head around the physics, I love physics. 

Jim Whitaker, Jennifer Lee, Adam Borba and Ava DuVernay on the set of Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME.

Jennifer talks about her and Ava DuVernay came together to create Veronica Kiley character

A fun thing for Ava and I was the, the bully, Veronica [Kiley] is actually a matchup of her biggest bully and my biggest bully.

 So we both – and what I appreciate though, is that journey was also like understanding that the bully has wounds as well. And so all of those little things we did together.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

What has inspired Jennifer to become a storyteller in the first place

Photo Courtesy of Disney

I came to it kind of late. But I think, I would say, I’d say it’s my job, I would just about look for the signs in your life. Because when I was little I was drawing all the time. I love Disney, I thought maybe, oh, I could be an animator. But [LAUGHS] I wasn’t a good enough artist. But I was always drawing. And then I was always writing things but they would gel. But it was like, there’s something inside, I was running sagas in my head. I would have these like epic journeys going on at night, to fall asleep. And one day I wrote a scene down.

I overheard something and I just started writing it. And I turned it into a scene. And I went, oh my god. Like this is the thing that I’ve been looking for, was the kind of writing that film is. What you can see, what you can hear, and what you can say. And like the reducing it that way, having those limitations, did something. And I had already been a visual artist so I knew there was – I was a visual thinker. But I was 30 when I went to film school. And I’d had a whole decade in book publishing. So for me I came to it late. But it was certainly the signs of saying, Oh, I was drawing as a kid but if I look back, I was drawing stories.

I wasn’t just drawing – it was like, turn the page. Kinda comic book stuff. So I think I just – but it was never something that anyone told me I could do. No, no one ever thought of. So I think, you know, I try to look now to, well, at least now, I think kids are able to find those things better now.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

Jennifer tries to narrow down her favorite line in the film

Photo Courtesy of Disney

So there are things where I think are in the book. And then I look back and I go, Oh no, the book is like a page on the subject. And like Mrs. Which says to Meg at one point, and I thought this was in the book, where she says, “Do you know all of the events that had to occur in the universe to create you exactly as you are?” And I was like, oh, that’s not in the book, that’s just what the book gave me.

Jennifer on the reasoning why she altered Mrs.Who’s character to differ from the book 

In the book she didn’t just talk in quotes in the book. She also spoke with regular voice. But I couldn’t understand sort of the exact motivation of that. So for myself, I said, well, what if she’s evolved past language? She’s so evolved. And so she uses our words.

And then what I loved about that is, it allowed us to never be on the nose with what she says.If she’s drawing from the canon of history, she could draw from anyone. We didn’t have to stick to some quotes from certain periods of like Shakespeare or stuff. We could have Jay-Z, we could have anyone we wanted. We had a blast, people sending in emails to Ava, to me, about favorite quotes they have. So that was really fun. There are some we loved but we couldn’t do, ’cause we couldn’t get the rights to do it, too. [LAUGHS] ‘Cause it was like, you didn’t realize how complicated that process was. But it was fun.

Photo Credit: Louise Manning Bishop / MomStart.com

From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light


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“A WRINKLE IN TIME” opens in U.S. theaters now!

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About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty

Kiwi is the free spirited blogger and content creator of KiwiTheBeauty.com. As a digital influencer, she produces creative inspiration around beauty, lifestyle, media and travel leisure. Her life mantra is to make manifesting fun! When she’s not blogging, she is eating trendy hipster food, carrying crystals, making it rain at her local farmer's market and binge brunching. Follow her on her blog and social media at kiwithebeauty.com + @kiwithebeauty

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