Adapting A Wrinkle In Time From Book To Screen – Why Changes Were Made

If you ask me who Jennifer Lee is, the first thing that would come to mind is that she is the writer/director of Disney’s Frozen. I mean she won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, directed a film (Frozen) that earned $1 billion in gross box office revenue, and really just made a fantastic movie that kids everywhere love. 

But now she has another amazing film to add to her resume. Jennifer Lee is the screenwriter for Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, and I can tell you that she did a fantastic job bringing this classic novel into the 21st century and adapting it for the big screen. 

I had a chance to interview Jennifer Lee recently about her work on the film and she had lots to say about the process, as well as why there are noticeable changes from book to screen!


When asked if there were any lines pulled from the book that she just knew had to be in the movie, she was enthusiastic in her response.

“Oh yeah. Oh God, yeah. ‘Wild nights are my glory,’ I give you your flaws (faults),’ there are so many.” ~Jennifer Lee

Lee also said she would sometimes think lines were from the book then she’d go back to the book and realize that it wasn’t actually in there.

“Like Mrs. Which says to Meg at one point, and I thought this was in the book, where she says, Do you know all of the events that had to occur in the universe to create you exactly as you are?’ And I was like, oh, that’s not in the book, that’s just what the book gave me.” ~Jennifer Lee

In the movie version of A Wrinkle In TimeMrs. Who speaks in quotes just like in the book, however, the quotes have been updated to reflect a more modern time. We asked her about this decision.

“Yeah. Well, in the book she didn’t just talk in quotes,” Lee said. “She also spoke with regular voice. But I couldn’t understand sort of the exact motivation of that. So for myself, I said, well, what if she’s evolved past language? She’s so evolved. And so she uses our words. It allowed us to never be on the nose with what she says.” ~Jennifer Lee

The biggest thing that I took away from not only Jennifer’s interview but from speaking to Ava DuVernay as well, is that A Wrinkle In Time (the movie) was not meant to be the book. They weren’t trying to adapt it exactly as it was for a film because they knew they’d fail at that. 

“I wasn’t trying to do the book. It was very much clear that I don’t want to try to be the book. If we try to be the book we’ll fail.

But showing our love for the book, showing sort of how much inspiration there is in the book. And how much the – how strong the journey is in the book. I could stay true to that, then we might have a chance of finally getting it made. 

Disney really responded to acknowledging that [I had a different take on it].” ~Jennifer Lee

A few things that you’ll find are different from the book are that the Murry twins, Sandy and Dennys are completely missing from the film.

Aunt Beast was also left out of the film, which many fans have expressed disappointment over, however, they did shoot a short scene that did feature Aunt Beast and Meg but it was cut in the final edit. 

“We wrote out this beautiful scene, and they shot it. And it’s fantastic. But the truth was, the structure of the book allows for different things. And at that stage in the journey, Meg had to face the greatest darkness of all. And we were ready for it. Pulling out for that other planet, it did something where you didn’t feel the same way going in.” ~Jennifer Lee

Lee goes on to say that she hopes the scene will make the DVD cut.

One addition to the movie that wasn’t in the book is the character Veronica Kiley (Rowan Blanchard). According to Lee, she was brought in to show an appreciation for how  a “bully has wounds as well.”

A fun thing for Ava and I was the bully, Veronica Kiley. [She] is actually a matchup of her biggest bully and my biggest bully. ~Jennifer Lee

There were also some less profound changes for some of the characters. One example is not having Dr. Kate Murry cook over a bunsen burner. Instead, we see her eating dinner as she works out problems in her notebook and has complex mathematical equations on a chalkboard near the table.

“This is a woman who’s a mathematician and a biophysicist. She doesn’t work with a bunsen burner, she works with complex equations.” ~Jennifer Lee


After watching the film a couple times myself, I can tell you that I loved it. It’s a great movie for kids, and while it isn’t meant to be the book, the heart of the book is still there. If you want to learn more about my thoughts, read my full movie review of A Wrinkle In Time HERE.

 

A Wrinkle In Time is now playing in theaters!

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Find all my A Wrinkle In Time movie coverage, interviews, and more HERE!

 

Press conference photo credit: Louise Bishop | momstart.com

Jesica H

When she isn’t drowning in a pile of never-ending laundry or picking up Legos, Jesica is busy helping other parents make their lives a little less stressful with homemaking hacks, easy recipes, fun DIY projects, and more. On her successful blog, The Mommy Bunch, her Cricut crafting tutorials are the most popular articles and are what sparked her passion for helping others build a business of their own. Jesica started rockyourcraft.com where you can find loads more craft tutorials and business advice. In her FREE Facebook group, Rock Your Craft Business, Jesica teaches other entrepreneurs how to take their craft business to the next level by building their brand, targeting the right customers, and utilizing smart social media strategies. Join us!

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