Storytelling is storytelling – everything comes from the character. – Jennifer Lee
Jennifer Lee, an Oscar-winning Director of FROZEN, writer of the upcoming FROZEN on Broadway and now the screenwriter for A Wrinkle In Time shares her talents in an exclusive interview. While I was in LA a few weeks ago, we go the opportunity to pick her brain. During the interview, we discussed the process of taking a classic novel to a movie, her inspiration to be a screenwriter and the difference between Broadway and the big screen.
The Process of Taking a Classic Novel to the Big Screen
The whole process of putting the classic novel to the big screen took 4 years. While Jennifer says it was a challenge, it was something she wanted to do cause she loved the book as a kid and her daughter was currently reading it. While writing the film, she didn’t want to try and be the book but show her love for it and how strong the journey is in the book. Then the magic piece of the puzzle was in place when Ava came on board.
Her days consisted of writing in the mornings and then going to animation in the afternoons. The writing took the longest as in a year and a half to almost two years. She then continued to work closely with producers Jim Whittaker and Catherine Hand taking notes from them. The next phase was working with Ava to bring the film to life. They both connected from the ground up, with something so fantastical.
Inspiration to Become a ScreenWriter
First her inspiration to even begin writing started at a young age in life when she was always drawing. She also had a love for Disney and thought maybe one day she would become an animator but she was not the best artist. There came a point in her life where she was always writing and then the two gelled together. And one day she wrote a scene down and the rest was history.
She talks about how she had already been a visual artist but the whole screenwriter didn’t come to her until late. She was 30 when she went to film school and had a whole decade in book publishing but the signs were always there.
Broadway VS Big Screen
Jennifer mentions that doing both is wonderful in so many ways but the difference is this. The big screen is where you have directors and complete control such as go from a helicopter shot to a close-up. Then you get to Broadway and the actors own it and they’re live. She goes on to say that storytelling is storytelling – everything comes from the character, from the emotion no matter how fantastical the world or whether it’s just a tiny set.
Will she adapt other classic novels to the big screen? The options are endless but she did talk about how she loves sci-fi films like Jane Austen and The Bronte Sisters that have been in her head lately. So you never know as we might see one of those on the big screen in the near future.
A WRINKLE IN TIME is NOW playing in theaters everywhere!
From visionary director Ava DuVernay comes Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” an epic adventure based on
Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic which takes audiences across dimensions of time and space,
examining the nature of darkness versus light and, ultimately, the triumph of love. Through one girl’s
transformative journey led by three celestial guides, we discover that strength comes from embracing
one’s individuality and that the best way to triumph over fear is to travel by one’s own light.
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