By the time the sequel comes out next year, it will have been a full six years since Frozen, which Jennifer Lee wrote and co-directed with Chris Buck, took over the world as we know it. Right now, details of the sequel’s plot remain slim (Lee gives us some vague hints) but ahead she does let us know that there’s a good chance its current title of Frozen 2 won’t be what its called when it released into theaters.
But before Frozen 2, or whatever it will be called, dominates our lives next year, we’ll see Ava DuVernay’s Lee-scripted new film, A Wrinkle in Time, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s extremely popular 1962 novel – a novel that’s been labeled “unfilmable.” (It’s been tried once before with a 2003 television movie. L’Engle was notably not a fan.) In the book and film, Young Meg Murry (Storm Reid) hasn’t seen her father (Chris Pine) in four years after he mysteriously disappeared one evening. Three supernatural travelers (Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon) try to guide Meg (along with her younger brother and a classmate) on an interstellar adventure to find her father.
Ahead, Lee breaks down why A Wrinkle in Time is such a difficult book to adapt for the screen and why she decided to leave out a lot of the book’s explicitly Christian themes. And she explains why she decided to make a sequel to Frozen after, at first, saying it would never happen.
A Wrinkle in Time is one of those books that’s gotten the “unfilmable” label. It was getting to A Confederacy of Dunces level…
Do you like that as a challenge? Or is, “Oh, this is very filmable, you should have no problem,” better?
You know, we joke at Disney that if there’s a problem, I love getting into the idea of how can we solve that. So in my nature, I get excited by identifying the problem – and even if I have the worst idea in the world – I like the process of doing that. But I think, with this, it was my love of the book and what would I want to see and what would I want to feel. And for me, I knew why it was hard. Structurally, I could see where it was difficult in terms of the approaches, thematically. All of those things were why I understood why there were issues.
I frankly felt more charged about this than anything, because I identified with Meg so much as an awkward person who couldn’t seem to get things right a lot in her life. I love cosmology and physics and the science of this. The themes were so extraordinary and complex to me – and, honestly, we’re applying to life today in many ways. So, for me, it was seeing I could relate to a lot of elements in the book and that could help me to feel my way in. But, I recognize how challenging it is and I knew, “don’t try to be the book,” and don’t be afraid to try to evoke the feeling of the book. But in a way that speaks to audiences today or gives it that freshness that you feel when you read it for the first time.