Oprah Winfrey is perhaps the biggest draw in Ava DuVernay’s film adaptation of the children’s classic – but behind the scenes it’s the noticeably diverse cast and crew that make this film stand out
On an overcast but humid afternoon in February 2017, on a stage set in Santa Clarita, California, about half an hour outside Los Angeles, Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling are taking a break from making magic. Kaling, just about visible behind her exaggeratedly high collar, and Winfrey – as unrecognisable as Winfrey can be beneath glittery Cruella de Vil-like make-up and a towering hair piece – are playing two of the three witches in the upcoming Disney adaptation of the American children’s classic book, A Wrinkle in Time, written by Madeleine L’Engle, and now directed by Ava DuVernay.
“Most roles I get cast for do not surprise me, and this did,” says Kaling. “I loved the book as a kid, but I always pictured the witches as little old white ladies, right? So this feels almost subversive.” Or as Winfrey later puts it to me, in her unimprovably Oprah-ish way: “I mean, you read the book and you’re expecting Mrs Doubtfire, right? You are not expecting this,” she hoots, waggling her finger towards her impressive cleavage.