A Wrinkle in Time feels like the kind of sci-fi fantasy movie Disney used to make in the 1970’s and 1980’s, when director Ava DuVernay was a kid.
"When I grew up, I loved Neverending Story, I loved Escape to Witch Mountain, these fantasy adventures,” she said. “But I never saw any girls that looked like me, and so that's really what this is."
She made diversity a priority, behind the scenes and on camera – from casting Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon as the celestial "missus," to actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the astrophysicist mom.
"I think there's something about images, and images go into our subconscious,” Mbatha-Raw said. "I think it's inspiring on a very subconscious level. I'm excited that it's happening for a new generation."
14-year-old Storm Reid plays the main character Meg. She hopes every little girl who watches the film will see themselves reflected on screen.
"I want her to know that she knows she's fine just the way she is and she shouldn't let anybody tell her different or try to alter that because she is perfect, she is a queen, she is smart, she is beautiful,” Reid said. “I want her to know she could just save the world if she wanted to."
Meg saves the day through fantastical space travel and real scientific principles - and filmmakers paid attention to small details, like equations written on chalkboards.
“Yes, they are (real,)” DuVernay said. “We had an astrophysicist come in and do them.”
But the movie's messages aren't complicated: empowerment, inclusion, and finding light in the darkness - whoever you are.
"It's a really beautiful time in terms of a conversation about women and girls right now, so I feel like this film kind of contributes to that conversation in a beautiful way,” DuVernay said.
A Wrinkle in Time is rated PG and opens March 9.
Travel and accommodations provided by Walt Disney Pictures.
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