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Storm Reid Says Making 'A Wrinkle In Time' Was 'A Dream Come True'

Mar 9, 2018
Originally published on March 9, 2018 7:03 pm

The new film A Wrinkle In Time has some of Hollywood's biggest stars: Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and more. But their stories all revolve around the central character, Meg Murry, who sets out on a journey through the universe to find her missing father — and Meg is played by 14-year-old actress Storm Reid.

A Wrinkle In Time is based on the acclaimed book of the same name by Madeleine L'Engle, which Reid first read in the 6th grade for a book report. She says she never thought that Meg could look like her.

"I imagined her as what she was described as — as a young Caucasian girl with freckles and wild, crazy hair," Reid says. "So I really didn't see myself being able to be Meg or, kind of, imagine myself, or a girl that looked like me, as Meg. But once I did get the script, it kind of all clicked and made sense. So I'm so glad that we do have a version of Meg who is Caucasian with freckles and big, wild hair, but also people will be able to see themselves in the new Meg that we have."


Interview Highlights

On the moment she first thought that Meg Murry could look like her

I feel like it was Ms. Ava [director Ava Duvernay], and she really made sure that it was important to have a little African-American girl at the center of the movie and ... so she really, I think, really told me that in the audition process. And I knew that it was something that was very important to her, and me as myself, to be able to not only see myself but represent other girls that looked like me.

On working with mega-celebrities and building the confidence to say to herself, "I belong here."

It took a second for me to kind of build the confidence and know this was meant to be, because I was freaking out. And I was so nervous and so intimidated when I walked on set everyday and saw everyone's face. But they all welcomed me with such warm arms, and they told me that this was meant to be and that we were going to have a good time and become family. So once they really told me that, I became more confident and more comfortable with them and being in the situation. And even though I was more confident and comfortable, I was still going in the corner and kind of pinching myself, and making sure this was, like, not a dream, but it was so much fun to have them and have them help me.

On a piece of advice Oprah gave her that made her feel at home on set

She said, "Don't waste energy on things you can't change in life, when you could be using that energy on something else positive in your life." So I used that on set to help me, like, keep me positive and motivate me and also, in my life, just to stay positive as well. And we just all had a really good time, and it felt like it was natural and all the scenes had a lot of love and a lot of, like, strength and power.

On what prompted Oprah to give her that advice

I had a fear of being too tall because my dad is very tall, and both my sisters are very tall. And they're drop-dead gorgeous, but I just didn't know if I, as Storm, wanted to be 6 feet tall, 'cause I feel like that's pretty tall. So I was having a conversation with Ms. Oprah and Ms. Ava on set, and we were talking about that ... and then Ms. Oprah turned that into an advice, a piece of information and she kinda turned that into something serious, which I really appreciate 'cause it helped me with that and with other things.

On what this moment means for her

It's a dream come true, and to be able to have such an amazing support system and basically [be] sharing our baby, which is this piece of art and magic that we love so much and that we created, and basically [that] we're giving that to the world is kind of scary, but it's so much fun. And I hope people like it and enjoy it, and it kind of touches them. And it's something that I've always wanted, so to be able to see my hard work pay off is really amazing.

Justine Kenin and Mallory Yu produced and edited this interview for broadcast. Sydnee Monday and Petra Mayer adapted it for the Web.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The film "A Wrinkle In Time" has some of Hollywood's biggest stars - Oprah Winfrey, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon and more. Their stories all revolve around the central character who's played by a 14-year-old actress named Storm Reid. She plays Meg Murry, a girl who sets out on a journey through the universe to find her missing father.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A WRINKLE IN TIME")

STORM REID: (As Meg) Well, Dad always told me to stand up for what I believe in.

GUGU MBATHA-RAW: (As Mrs. Murry) Don't use Dad like that. It's not fair.

REID: (As Meg) He's not coming back, is he?

MBATHA-RAW: (As Mrs. Murry) Don't give up hope, Meglet.

SHAPIRO: Storm Reid, welcome to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

REID: Thank you.

SHAPIRO: You read "A Wrinkle In Time" when you were - what? - in the sixth grade.

REID: I did, yes. I read it in the sixth grade for a book report, and I loved it so much. And I loved the backstory of the journey and of Meg. So I was really excited once I got the audition and to know some history behind it.

SHAPIRO: OK, so take me into that sixth-grade mind. As you're reading the book, what did you imagine Meg Murry looked like?

REID: Well, I imagined her as what she was described as - as a young Caucasian girl with freckles and, like, wild, crazy hair. So I really didn't see myself being able to be Meg or kind of imagine myself or a girl that looked like me as Meg. But once I did get the script, it kind of all clicked and make sense. So I'm so glad that we do have a version of Meg who is Caucasian with freckles and big, wild hair. But also people will be able to see themselves in the new Meg that we have.

SHAPIRO: Was there a moment that someone told you or was it just reading the script that something clicked in your head that said, no, I can also be Meg; Meg doesn't have to look like what I imagined this Caucasian girl to look like.

REID: Yes, absolutely. I feel like it was Ms. Ava. And she really made sure that it was important to have a little African-American girl at the center of the movie and at the center of...

SHAPIRO: Ms. Ava - Ava DuVernay, the director.

REID: Yes, Ms. Ava DuVernay. I'm sorry.

SHAPIRO: Not at all.

REID: (Laughter) Yes. And it was very important to her, so she really - I think really told me that in the audition process. And I knew that it was something that was very important to her and me as myself to be able to not only see myself but represent other girls that look like me. So I feel like it was a main - like, main idea.

SHAPIRO: There's a moment in the film where you meet another version of yourself.

REID: Yes (laughter).

SHAPIRO: And this is a version that has straight hair and no glasses and a short skirt. Tell me about what it was like to become that person for a scene.

REID: It was very interesting. Of course it was really fun 'cause I got to change out of the outfit I was wearing for six months. And so...

SHAPIRO: (Laughter) That outfit being a plaid shirt and jeans, yeah.

REID: Yes. So I was excited for the outfit change. But I thought it was really interesting, the scene, where it's so emotional because Meg is having to choose between herself and then a, quote, unquote, "perfect version" of herself. And it's so amazing that she chooses herself, which I feel like is another message within the movie about just not trying to conform to what society wants you to do or what society wants you to look like and just embrace your true beauty.

SHAPIRO: Did feeling that, quote, unquote, "perfect version" of yourself when you were transformed into that first scene make you look differently on the plaid-shirted, curly-haired version of yourself that you live with when you're not all glamorous and made-up?

REID: Right, no, absolutely not. I love being unique, and I love being goofy and weird sometimes. So to have this perfect version of yourself or of Meg, who is so polished and so done-up, I feel like it's not real. And it's not realistic, and it's not how people live and how people are in real life.

SHAPIRO: You went back to your old elementary school last week. Is that right?

REID: I did, yes.

SHAPIRO: It's in Dunwoody, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta. What kinds of questions did they ask you?

REID: They just asked me, like, about the movie process and if I had any challenges during the movie, if I was scared and how was it working with Ms. Oprah - so the normal, like...

(LAUGHTER)

REID: Movie making questions.

SHAPIRO: I feel like everybody's asking you what it was like to work with Ms. Oprah.

REID: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SHAPIRO: Are you sick of giving the same answer over and over again?

REID: No because she's so amazing and so incredible. And to be able to work with somebody who is so influential and so sought-after is so amazing, and to be able to learn from her was amazing. So I'm glad to share that answer every time (laughter).

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "A WRINKLE IN TIME")

OPRAH WINFREY: (As Mrs. Which) Your father is trapped by an evil energy.

REID: (As Meg) It's too strong for our light.

WINFREY: (As Mrs. Which) And the only one who can stop him is you. Be a warrior.

SHAPIRO: When you got on set and you were like, OK, there's Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon and Zach Galifianakis and all of these super mega celebrities, not to mention Ava DuVernay...

REID: Yes.

SHAPIRO: ...How did you build the confidence to say to yourself, I belong here?

REID: It took a second for me to kind of build the confidence and know this was meant to be 'cause I was freaking out.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

REID: And I was so nervous and so intimidated when I walked on set every day and saw everyone's face. But they all welcomed me with, like, such warm arms, and they told me that this was meant to be and that we were going to have a good time and become family. So once they really told me that, I became more confident and more comfortable with them and being in the situation. And even though I was more confident and comfortable, I was still, like, going in the corner and kind of pinching myself and making sure this was, like, not a dream. But it was so much fun to have them and have them help me.

SHAPIRO: Can you tell me about something specific that one of them said or did that sort of made you feel at home there?

REID: Ms. Oprah gave me some advice. And she said, don't waste energy on things you can't change in life when you could be using that energy on something else positive in your life. So I used that, like, on set to help me, like, keep me positive and motivate me and also, in my life, just stay positive as well. And we just all had a really good time, and it felt like it was natural, and all the scenes had a lot of love and a lot of, like, strength and power with them and with us.

SHAPIRO: What was the occasion that prompted her to tell you that? Why did she give you that advice?

REID: Oh, well, I - (laughter) that's a funny question.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter).

REID: I had a fear of being too tall because my dad is very tall, and both of my sisters are very tall. And they're drop-dead gorgeous. But I just didn't know if I as Storm wanted to be 6 feet tall 'cause I feel like that's pretty tall. So I was having a conversation with Ms. Oprah and Ms. Ava on set, and we were talking about that. And we were just laughing and talking about that, and then Ms. Oprah turned that into an advice piece - a piece of information. And she kind of turned that into something serious, which I really appreciate 'cause it helped me with that and with other things.

SHAPIRO: It's been a long road to this opening night.

REID: I know.

SHAPIRO: And here we are. The world is going to see this movie.

REID: Yes.

SHAPIRO: What is this moment for you standing on the precipice looking ahead?

REID: I know. It's a dream come true. And to be able to have a such amazing support system and basically sharing our baby, which is this piece of art and magic that we love so much and that we created - and basically we're giving that to the world - is kind of scary. But it's so much fun, and I hope people like it and enjoy it and it kind of touches them. And it's something that I've always wanted, so to be able to see my hard work pay off is really amazing.

SHAPIRO: Well, Storm Reid, it's been wonderful talking with you.

REID: Thank you.

SHAPIRO: Congratulations on the film.

REID: Thank you so much. Nice talking to you. Thank you for the opportunity.

SHAPIRO: Storm Reid plays Meg Murry in the new film "A Wrinkle In Time." It's in theaters now.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I BELIEVE")

DEMI LOVATO: (Singing) It told me I can do anything if I believe, I believe, I believe in me, I believe, I believe, I believe in me. I'm living my... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.