In Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, from director Ava DuVernay, Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon plays the role of Mrs. Whatsit, the youngest of the three celestial beings that help the film’s hero complete her mission. As one of the Mrs., who guide Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and their friend Calvin (Levi Miller) on an unexpected journey into alternate dimensions to bring home their father (Chris Pine), Mrs. Whatsit is curious and playful, initially thinking Meg is a downer before eventually coming to respect her.
On February 2, 2017, Collider (along with a handful of other online outlets) was invited to the Santa Clarita, California, set where we talked with Reese Witherspoon. During the interview, she spoke about how much fun she’s had with this amazing cast, why this story was important to her, being a warrior of the light, the inspiration for Mrs. Whatsit, what this book meant to her, as a kid growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, her favorite moment on set, and why she’s made it her life’s work to get more women’s voices in film.
Question: What’s it like working with such an amazing cast?
REESE WITHERSPOON: It’s really fun! I was just thinking about how amazing it is that Mindy [Kaling] has been writing her fourth book, Oprah is now a correspondent for 60 Minutes, and Ava [DuVernay] did a documentary [that was] at the Academy Awards. Every one of us is so insanely busy, and it’s really interesting that every one of us knew the importance of this message and what Ava wanted to accomplish with this film and put all their other busy stuff aside to make this possible. We really made it a huge priority to be available to do this together. It flows nicely into all of our intentions, as creators, as women, and as warriors of the light.
How did you approach Mrs. Whatsit? What did you want to bring to the role?
WITHERSPOON: The vision for Mrs. Whatsit, in this version of the story, is that she is the youngest of the three Mrs., and she is new to this mission of finding warriors in the world and delivering them to different universes. She’s part Cheshire Cat and part the mermaid in Splash. She’s curious and plays with things. She’s very playful and young, too. She fights with Meg Murry a lot. She thinks Meg is a downer. She doesn’t want her on the mission. We have this nice journey, where Meg and I end up making amends and finding peace with each other. It’s fun to be one of the kids. I’m basically a 12-year-old child, or younger.
What do you think of your costumes?
WITHERSPOON: This is my first costume. I went through a wormhole and there were sheets all over, so these are Mrs. Buncombe’s sheets – the next-door neighbor – and I’ve wrapped them artfully around myself, Balenciaga-style.