You ever wonder how so many great movies get there start? Well, it all starts from either a thought or inspiration then pen and paper. Recently we sat down with an amazing award-winning screenwriter who told the story of A WRINKLE IN TIME and FROZEN. She’s an Oscar winning director and the writer of FROZEN on Broadway, Jennifer Lee. It was my second time meeting her and I remember being at the Hollywood premiere of Frozen and talking with her then, it was so such an memorable moment! Jennifer is very talented and she talked to us about the movie, taking it from a novel to the big screen, favorite quotes from the movie and so much more! Sidenote: I also think she has the “best hair” in the business too…ha! Take a peek inside…
How do you take such a classic novel and adapt it down into a size for a movie?
Jennifer: Well, it took four years, if that answers the question. It was a challenge but it was one – when I heard they were looking for a writer, I was like, “Oh oh oh!” ‘Cause I had loved it as a kid, my daughter was actually reading it. So for 5th grade, if anyone’s like 5th grade. So I was reading it again and I just kept saying, I had a whole take on it. But I wanted to try it. And what I loved is, Disney really responded to acknowledging that. Like I wasn’t trying to do the book, adapting it for the film, it was very much clear that like, 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. ‘Cause it’s been years of trying. So I’m and then of course, when Ava joined, that was the final magic piece of the puzzle, I think, so.
Do you have favorite lines in the book, that you were like, “This has to be in the movie, I like….
Jennifer: Oh yeah. Oh god. Yeah, wild nights in my glory. I give you your flaws.
There are so many. I’m sorry, but there’s so many that I have to go to like, we would take like a whole paragraph and have to reduce it to a sentence. So there are things where I think are in the book. And then I look back and I go, Oh no, the book is like a page on the subject. And 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.
You changed Mrs. Who’s character a little bit. They were more current lines?
Jennifer: In the book she didn’t just talk in quotes in the book. 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.
And then what I loved about that is, it allowed us to never be on the nose with what she says. But, and it if she’s drawing from the canon of history, she could draw from anyone. We didn’t have to stick to some quotes from certain periods of like Shakespeare or stuff. We could have Jay-Z, we could have anyone we wanted. We had a blast, people sending in emails to Ava, to me, about favorite quotes they have. So that was really fun. There are some we loved but we couldn’t do, ’cause we couldn’t get the rights to do it, too. ‘Cause it was like, you didn’t realize how complicated that process was. But it was fun.
Are there any other books that are classic or more modern that you would like to adapt for the screen, or the stage?
Jennifer: Oh, goodness. I think I don’t have a chance to read any more. No. There are a lot. I mean, my upbringing had a lot to do with big science fiction films. Or like Jane Austen and The Bronte Sisters. And my head’s been in there lately. And so I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about that’s a good question. There are some that I was excited about that I found out are already being made. So that’s okay. What am I missing?
A Wrinkle In Time in theaters everywhere!
Photos by Louise Bishop/Alberto E. Rodriguez