Gugu Mbatha-Raw Explains the Power of Representation in A Wrinkle in Time

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

A Wrinkle in Time, in theaters on March 9, has a lot going for it: an A-list cast, a talented director, and a Disney-size budget. But as it turns out, there was one other thing in particular that initially drew Gugu Mbatha-Raw to the project—or, rather, one person. We sat down with the UK native at the film's press junket in Los Angeles, where Mbatha-Raw explained how the film's 14-year-old star, Storm Reid, was particularly inspiring for her.

"When [director Ava DuVernay] first mentioned A Wrinkle in Time to me, I was intrigued," Mbatha-Raw told Who What Wear. "She said she had me in mind to play the mom, and I was kind of like, 'Really? I don't know. I've never played a mom before.' But as soon as I saw a picture of Storm, I was like, Oh my god, I totally see myself in her."

When we asked Mbatha-Raw what impressed her most about Reid, she explained how the relative newcomer's role is even more important than you might realize. "I think she gives such a beautiful, powerful, and vulnerable performance, and I think it's an exciting time," she told us. "When I grew up, there weren't big blockbuster Disney movies with little girls who looked like me and Storm as the heroine, the hero, the warrior of the whole story, so I think that's extremely culturally significant and meaningful for me to be part of her sentience."

Read on for our full chat with Mbatha-Raw, delving into the film's principal theme, director Ava DuVernay's strengths, and more.