Ava DuVernay On The Inspiration She Drew From Her Mom And The 'Labor Of Love' It Took To Create ‘A Wrinkle In Time,' Ahead Of Its Mother’s Day Theater Re-Release
Photo Credit: Ava DuVernay and Storm Reid on the set of Disney’s A WRINKLE IN TIME.
Film , Interviews

Ava DuVernay On The Inspiration She Drew From Her Mom And The 'Labor Of Love' It Took To Create ‘A Wrinkle In Time,' Ahead Of Its Mother’s Day Theater Re-Release

As February 2018 wrapped up, Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time burst into our theaters and hearts alike, securing the power of being a warrior.

Shadow And Act previously spoke with the film’s talented star Storm Reid on being an inspiration for young girls and director Ava DuVernay on her “love letter to kids.” Now, just in time for A Wrinkle in Time’s re-release in celebration of Mother’s Day, DuVernay joined us once again to talk about the film’s maternal themes, how it will invoke conversations between mothers and their children, her own relationship with her mother and how she considers her films her offspring.

Fresh off a screening of Wanuri Kahiu’s Rafiki in Cannes, France, where she’s currently serving as a Cannes Film Festival juror.

“[A Wrinkle in Time] is going to DVD in a few weeks, so Disney was like ‘how about we just do one Mother’s Day hurrah’, which is so cool,” DuVernay exclaimed. “It’s actually opening in 1800 screens!”

Based on the Madeleine L’Engle book of the same name, A Wrinkle in Time follows Meg (Storm Reid) on a fantastical space journey with her brother (Deric McCabe) to find her father (Chris Pine) after his peculiar disappearance. Though the inciting incident centers around Meg’s search for her father, we can’t ignore the mother (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) dynamic, who is left to raise the two children alone.

“We focus so much on the father-daughter relationship in the book, but in the film it was really important for us to make this connection between the mother and daughter and the mother and son,” said DuVernay. “It’s really about family; it’s really about the ties that bind.”

In terms of Meg’s journey, DuVernay made sure to point out that it was inherently connected to her mother. “We are the people who raise us; we are the people who love us and care for us,” she said. “A part of that goes with us as we travel through life.”

If you’re a follower of DuVernay’s super engaging social media accounts, you’d notice that her own mother is routinely by her side. Whether it’s a film premiere or a panel for Queen Sugar, you’ll rarely see one without the other. Naturally, DuVernay took her mother “everywhere” for the A Wrinkle in Time press run, as well.

“She out-dressed me!” laughed DuVernay. “She would always ask me who my dress was by, and (I’d tell her) it’s by Prada or Armani, and she would (point to her own) and say, ‘This is by Ross, this is by Target!’” She reminisced about her mom on the red carpet, full of pride, as the people around her “gasped at her gowns,” only to find out that they weren’t the high-priced fits one would assume. That pretty much proves that it’s all in the way you rock it, right?

DuVernay has said in the past that she chose not to have children and that, in many ways, her projects are her offspring. “I really wanted to make a love letter to black girls, specifically,” she mused. “(Also), brown girls and the ones I grew up with in Compton.” Ultimately, this film was a labor of love so that children could see themselves. And based on the reactions DuVernay is still getting — of the many many wide-eyed and entranced children in theaters — that mission is certainly accomplished.

One of the most powerful moments of the film was when Meg legit wailed out her flaws in a climactic epiphany of self-embrace. DuVernay’s success ride is accelerating with a velocity that is incredibly inspirational to watch. In telling such a vulnerable story, we wanted to know a time when DuVernay could relate to Meg’s feelings. “I think it’s really embracing becoming a filmmaker at an older age,” reflected DuVernay. “I was 32 when I first picked up a camera. And you know, I’m black, I’m a woman, I’m 32-years-old, I’ve never gone to film school… which are really considered flaws in the industry.” As such, DuVernay leaned into that and embraced it by making films about “women like (her).”

“In the end, (those ‘flaws’) were gifts,” concluded DuVernay.

As audiences interlock their arms with their mothers and maternal figures alike, DuVernay wants everyone to embrace the “magic” behind the film. As she puts it, it is not “Selma in space,” so make sure to make “fun” the priority!

Happy Mother’s Day!

A Wrinkle in Time is currently in theaters for the weekend. 

It’s out digitally on May 29 and on Blu-ray/DVD on June 5.

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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