Oprah Winfrey: Love for NZ persuaded her to take role in A Wrinkle in Time
Oprah Winfrey says it was her love for New Zealand that persuaded her take a role in A Wrinkle in Time.
Talking to the Los Angeles Times, the 63-year-old entertainment mogul said the film's director and her friend Ava DuVernay was providing her with constant updates on her location scout here last year for the big-budget adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's much-loved book.
"She's telling me about the ice caves and glaciers and mountains and turquoise lakes, I told her, 'I am coming to visit'. And she said, 'If you're going to visit, why don't you work? Would you mind reading the script?'."
Impressed, she signed on to play Mrs Witch, a character Winfrey described as a "cross between [The Wizard of Oz's] Glinda the Good Witch and [US poet] Maya Angelou".
"I believe I am Mrs. Witch! You know, she's born of the stars and she's a wise woman coming from another cosmos. So, c'mon! And she loves pontificating."
Describing her time filming in New Zealand in February as a great experience, she said she saw a "rough cut" of the movie the other day.
"Just a piece of it and I started to cry. She's put her soul into it. And Disney has given her the luxury of time, which she has never had before. It's going to pay off in ways you can't imagine."
Such confidence is a far cry from Winfrey's first major role in Steven Spielberg's 1985 adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Color Purple. "I was terrified. There was another movie – was it Mask? – where somebody had recently been fired, and it had never occurred to me that you could be fired from a movie. But I did know that if there was anybody who could be fired, it would be me, because I didn't know what I was doing. Period.
"My first day on set and I am in the first scene and I walk in and look directly into the camera and say my line.'Cut! Cut!' Steven asked, 'Why are looking into the camera?' I had been on TV since I was 19 and that's what you do. You look at the camera. Anyway, I learned. But I've never stopped being intimidated."
A Wrinkle in Time's release date has recently been moved forward from April to March 8 next year.