In the biggest role of her young career, actress Storm Reid leads a star cast in the cinematic version of “A Wrinkle in Time.” In the film, Reid, 14, plays Meg Murry, a young girl who time travels through a wormhole to find her father (Chris Pine) who disappeared years prior. Going along with Meg for the journey is her little brother Charles Wallace (Deric McCabe), friend Calvin (Levi Miller), and three magical beings who guide her – Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) and Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling).
During an interview with me last week, Reid talked about the message she hopes audiences find in “A Wrinkle in Time,” what she learned on set about being humble, and what it was like eating truffle popcorn with Oprah at her house.
I know the first time you read “A Wrinkle in Time” was in the sixth grade. What do you think it is about the book that has made it a classic for more than 50 years?
I feel like it has an amazing, impactful message. I feel like that message sticks when you read it. Everyone can relate to Meg and what she’s going through. I think that’s why people love it to this day.
When you booked the movie, did you go back and re-read it? How did you prepare to play Meg?
I didn’t read it again because I knew there would be some differences between the movie and the book. I didn’t want the book to cloud my mind about who Meg was, so I basically tried to remember what I read from the book and stay in the essence of who Meg was and stay true to her story. But I also wanted to create her from the ground up. I wanted to step in her shoes and become her. Hopefully, I did that well and hopefully it translated well in the movie.
Is there a message you hope viewers get about the father-daughter relationship we see in the film?
This movie really represents the importance and love between a father and a daughter and how the daughter will risk her life to save her father. There is so much love in that relationship. It’s important to see them reunite and see how much love and connection they have, even though he has been gone for four years. I feel like daughters and fathers will really connect to that and know they are loved and deserve to be together.
What was it like watching the movie for the first time on the big screen? Was there anything that surprised you?
It was such an amazing experience. It was like I had an out-of-body experience. I was actually at Ms. Oprah’s house when I first saw the movie with everyone. It was great to see everyone’s hard work come together in such a beautiful artform. To see that translated on screen was so great. I was so glad I was able to experience that with Ms. Oprah and [director] Ms. Ava [DuVernay] and Reese and Mindy and Chris and Zach [Galifianakis] and everybody that was there. It was an emotional experience.
I’m assuming Oprah has her own movie theater in her house, or was everyone huddled around a 25-inch TV watching it?
(Laughs) Yes, it was inside a theater, which was really, really cool! Her house is amazing. It was so amazing for her to open her house to be able to share that experience with us.
What does Oprah serve for movie snacks?
Oh, we had some really good truffle popcorn. That was cool, too!
I’m sure it’s very inspiring to work with people like Oprah and Ava. What did you learn from them that you’re going to take with you, either to your next project or just in life in general?
I think I learned constant graciousness. Both are so grounded and humble and so talented. Even though they’ve been in this industry for a long time, they don’t act like it. They act like normal people. I will take that away from the six months I spent with them. I’ll know that no matter how big I get, I will also feel like a regular, down-to-earth, passionate person.
What was your favorite scene to shoot in the movie?
My favorite scene to shoot in the movie would have to be either the flying sequence with Creature Whatsit and Calvin and Charles Wallace or the scene where Meg reunites with her father. That’s such an emotional scene and really gets the father and daughter dynamic.
So, talk about those CGI scenes like the flying sequence. When you’re acting on a green screen, can you give me an example of what you do to react to certain things that are not actually in front of you? What do you imagine?
Oh, it’s super duper hard to imagine things that are not there! It was my first time working on green screen, so it was an extra challenge. But Ms. Ava did a great job walking us through it and showing us the animation of what’s going to be seen on the big screen. I just tried to imagine something joyful or something scary. I tried to think of something that would help my facial expressions and my acting.
What was it like working with Michael Peña, who plays one of the villains?
He was so much fun! He switched it up every scene. He was so funny and down to earth. He wasn’t scary in real life, but once he really tapped into “the IT” (a dark, evil presence in the film), he was very scary.
What was the best experience you had shooting in New Zealand?
New Zealand is so breathtaking, and the people are so amazing, and the food is so great. It was great being there with people that I love and admire. We became a family. My mom was there, so I experienced it with her, too. I’m glad I got to go there. I hope I get to go back when I’m not working.
Are there any family films that you consider classics?
“Matilda” is so great. She is so independent and loving, even though she doesn’t have the best family dynamic. She still loves them, but she stands up for what she believes in. I feel she’s a great representation of a good, strong, independent young woman.
Do you hope 15 years from now, kids will look back on “A Wrinkle in Time” with as much adoration as you have for “Matilda?”
I hope so! I hope people take the film in and really connect with Meg. I hope people let her inspire them. I feel like the message behind the movie will. Hopefully, it will become a classic.
What do you want out of a career in Hollywood? What are you looking for?
I’ve been acting since I was three. I just want to continue to portray strong, young women who have a story and have challenges, but through those challenges they use their light to save the people around them. I would love to continue to do that and inspire my generation.