Jennifer Lee talks A Wrinkle in Time

Do you know Jennifer Lee? I bet your kids know of her, but it may be in a six degrees of separation way. She’s the writer and director behind the highest grossing animated film of all time – Frozen. Now she’s adding screenwriter of A Wrinkle in Time to her resume, and that’s pretty massive. Given the amount of female empowerment this film is doling out, it’s only right that the leads, director and screenwriter are women too! It just makes it feel right. 

Jennifer was kind enough to sit down with our Houseful for an interview to let us know what it was like writing the screen adaptation for A Wrinkle in Time and working with the likes of Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Storm Reid. 

She shared quite a bit of the process of writing A Wrinkle In Time which included the fact that it took four whole years. WHAT?! 

She wasn’t trying to put the entire book on-screen 

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. 

Her favorite line might be yours too

Wild nights are my glory – ’nuff said. Followed closely by “I give you your flaws.” There’s another line that Mrs. Which says to Meg, and it’s a condensed version of a paragraph that the book gave her. I love that even in adulthood, A Wrinkle In Time is still giving gifts. 

Mrs. Who was changed to bring her up to current times

It was important for the movie to reflect the current age that we’re in and the massive amount of quotes that Mrs. Who could draw from. So Jennifer and Ava asked fans to send their favorite quotes in, and chose some of those! 

She thought she wanted to be an animator

She drew all the time, but the moment she saw something and turned it into a full blown scene, she knew her passion was actually in writing things for people to DO and SAY. Millions of kids who love Elsa and Anna thank her for that. 

 Why Aunt Beast does not making a proper appearance

Well, I know for all of us, Aunt Beast was the one. So you know, we wrote out this beautiful scene, and they shot it. And it’s fantastic. But the
truth was, the structure of the book allows for different things. And at that stage in the journey, Meg had to face the greatest darkness of all. And we were ready for it. And pulling out for that other planet, it did something where you didn’t feel the same way going in.

So there was the hard screening they showed without it. And it actually was more true to the journey. And it’s one of those things, the book can do that. It can float around and then get back to things, it can pull you out and you can have a character who doesn’t really speak at all.
And you’re floating in the narrative. And it’s such a beautiful thing. And maybe it’ll be in the deleted scenes on the DVD release. There’s some beautiful stuff in there. But you know, I always say, basically they’re killing your darlings.

Like there are things that I loved like the tone of the Bunsen burner thing, where the mom is cooking. But the truth is, this is a woman who’s a mathematician. And a biophysicist. She doesn’t work with Bunsen burner, she works with complex equations. So with that kinda stuff, it was everywhere. But at the same time, I think the most important thing was, really being true to the emotional journey. And not trying to be the book. Because if we tried to be the book, I think we’d let people down in that way. I just wanted this to feel like A Wrinkle In Time. You know?

A Wrinkle In Time is in theaters now! Check it out and come back to let me know what you think! 

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