If you’re looking for someone to play a celestial being that is a supernova and teacher of wisdom than it seems like a given that you’d turn to Oprah Winfrey, who takes on the role of Mrs. Which in Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, from director Ava DuVernay. As one of the Mrs., who help the story’s protagonist Meg Murry (Storm Reid), her brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe) and their friend Calvin (Levi Miller) go on an unexpected journey into alternate dimensions on a mission to bring home their father (Chris Pine), Mrs. Which also helps empower Meg to realize that her differences are what make her special and make her a hero.
On February 2, 2017, Collider (along with a handful of other online outlets) was invited to the Santa Clarita, Calif. set, where we got to talk with Oprah Winfrey. During the interview, she spoke about the fantastic look for her character, why the story spoke to her so deeply, seeing A Wrinkle in Time as The Wizard of Oz for a new generation, what inspired her performance as Mrs. Which, why the film’s message is so timely, how impressed she’s been to work with director Ava DuVernay, and how much she’s enjoyed working with the kids.
Check out the full interview below, and for much more on the film click here for loads of trivia I learned while on set.
Question: You look fantastic!
OPRAH WINFREY: Thank you! It’s hard to sit!
Are all the costumes like this?
WINFREY: One is more fantastic than the other. I was in a metal corset the other day, which was actually more comfortable [than this costume]. You could sort of lean on it and be in it. And I was hanging from a wire, so it was easy to use it as a prop.
Your eyebrows are so cool!
WINFREY: We started with amber eyebrows, on one of the planets, and we just liked it. It was like, “I think you should have eyebrows made of stone, for every planet!” I picked these up from the cosmos. There was a comet sailing by and I saw some minerals and particles, and I just put them together. It’s great fun. It’s certainly the most make-up I’ve ever worn, in a lifetime.
How long does it take to put everything on?
WINFREY: If I have a 4:15 call, then I’m on set by 8. That’s how long it takes.
What should we know about Mrs. Which?
WINFREY: This story never made it to my neighborhood. I never read it as a kid, so I just discovered it when Ava [DuVernay] started talking about it. For me, it’s like doing The Wizard of Oz for a new generation. It’s a spaced-out Oz, with Meg as the new Dorothy, and I am Glinda! Mrs. Which is a combination, for me, of Glinda the Good Witch and Maya Angelou. I hear both of them in my head, as I’m speaking. And I cannot tell you how aligned I think this film is. I do not think of it as a kid’s film. I think of it as a film for generations to come, and it will live on in the wisdom empowerment energy field for people, in the same way that Oz has. First of all, Mrs. Which is a supernova. I mean, I’m playing a supernova, or one of the stars. She’s a supernova/angel woman/wisdom teacher, who has come to help Meg and her brother find their father, but in finding their father, it’s about developing your own sense of belief, confidence and empowerment for yourself. So, for instance, when she first appears before Meg, she says, “You just have to have the right frequency,” meaning getting in the right vibration, “so you’ll be aligned. You have to know the right frequency that makes you who you are.” That’s really what the film is about. It’s about lining up with what your true frequency is, which I believe everybody has. There’s your flow in life. There’s your lane. There’s your current that you are supposed to follow, that is like no one else’s. So, Mrs. Which is here to teach Meg how to do that and how to line up with the vibration, or frequency, that is most her, and how to have faith in that and follow it. That is a story for all times. It’s bigger than a Disney film about a kid who lost her father and who is trying to find him in outer space. Also, when they are in the cave of the Happy Medium, just before they go in, Mrs Which says to Meg, “The reason why you can’t accomplish what you want is because you’re resisting too much. You’re resisting.” She actually says those words, which is a thing for everybody in life. You don’t get what you want when you’re in resistance against it, so you have to line up with the same frequency. You have to be calm, you have to be at ease, and you have to believe that you can, and then you move forward. When she’s in the cave, she talks about how the darkness is spreading so fast across the land, and that we must fight the darkness with the light. We are in search of warriors, who can bring back hope. This is what this movie is about. It’s about bringing back hope.
It sounds like you really identify with the story and your character.
WINFREY: I just think the message is so timely. It’s wonderful that there is a heroine in it. It’s great that we’re all knockout dressers, as the angelic beings, and that we’re female, but I really do think it’s a story for everybody. Everyone who I’ve encountered, who actually grew up with the book, has just become so excited and weepy and a little cray over it. Who knew I would be here, hanging from the wire, literally with the strap in my genitalia, on fire. Literally, I have to have them cut me down. My vagina is now chapped! I’m like, “I’ve got a chapped vagina, y’all! Cut me down!” When I decided to end The Oprah Show, I never expected to be hanging from a wire, wearing a harness that feels like a chastity belt, but it’s a thrill to do it. It’s a totally new experience.
What was your favorite scene or planet to film?
WINFREY: Well, we’ve only done Orion, thus far. I did Earth yesterday, but I was off-camera all day, for everybody else. We haven’t been anywhere else yet, so we haven’t experienced anywhere else. Orion is really cool because I love my braids. Who doesn’t want to work with Kim Kimball? She’s made Beyonce’s locks. Kim and I met, several months before we started, to figure out what Mrs. Which’s hair color would be. We started out with purples and oranges and a lot of really crazy stuff, but I thought that settling in with something that’s between gold, platinum and blonde actually really worked for my skin. And Reese was going to be red-haired, so it worked out. It’s something different. You really can say that you have never seen me like this.