Catherine Hand is an American producer with a love for Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time. She produced the 2003 television film adaptation and returned to produce Disney’s live-action adaptation directed by Ava DuVernay. Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time was released on 4K UHD Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray, and DVD on June 5, 2018.
Screen Rant got a chance to sit down with Catherine Hand on press day, where we discussed her love for the original novel, what people take from the novel, and bringing Ava DuVernay onto the project.
SR: I know that you have a long history with the book and obviously when it comes to making the film, it is a little bit different. But I appreciate those differences mainly because I’m a biracial kid myself, so it’s great seeing that representation on screen. So, talk to me about your love for A Wrinkle in Time and how you kind of came to discover it and how you became attached to it.
Catherine Hand: I mean, it’s crazy. I read it when I was a really little girl, ten years old. Loved it. Wanted Walt Disney to make it and star me as Meg and then, when I didn’t tell him about it and he died, I don’t know where it came from. I felt so guilty that I hadn’t sent my letter to him, to tell him about A Wrinkle in Time that I thought, “Oh my God. I better send a letter to somebody.” And I didn’t know anyone else to send it to. Walt Disney was the only one who made movies for children in those days. So, I thought, “Oh. I will just have to grow up and make it myself.” I mean, that was literally it. Right? And I just loved it. I thought it was a great adventure. I had never ever thought that a daughter could do something that a father couldn’t. You know, I had a young brother that had learning disabilities and I felt very protective of him. I thought he was special. You know, there was just so many things. And I think also obviously that Meg is trying to get rid of her faults and that they come in handy on Camazotz. I loved that! And I loved the science and the spiritual story. People talk about it. It’s about everything and that it is about so many different things. Well, I loved all those things. I loved the science. I loved the spiritual. I loved the family. I loved the family love. I loved the fact that Meg didn’t appreciate the love around her until after the journey. And I will say that the thing that kind of surprised me when people would say, “Oh, It’s about Communism.” You know, when ten year olds read that book, they don’t know anything about Communism. So, it’s surprising to me that people would get locked into Communism. It’s not. It’s about fear and it’s about overcoming your fear of the darkness so it doesn’t weaken you. Anyway, so obviously there were lots of things. And I think, in my case too, I met Madeleine L’Engle and became very close to her. And there were many times where I was full of doubt. I guess despair. And I just loved her so much and I really felt her love for me that I didn’t want to let her down, so I guess also that kind of kept me going. But then there was the third thing and that was, over the years, I would meet thousands of people that loved the book and they were all different. I mean, no two people saw it the same way.
SR: Well, depending on who you are, you get something different out of it.
Catherine Hand: Exactly. So, they all saw it with a different lens. Someone would say the political statement it is. And I would say, “Oh really? You see it as a political statement?” Someone would say it is a religious statement. And I’d say, “Oh really? You see it as a religious statement?” I mean, you know, everyone was so different. And I was fascinated and curious by a story that could continue to appeal to people long after they left childhood.
SR: Bringing Ava on this project, she is an amazing director, bringing Ava on this project, what does that mean to you and sitting down and watching your dream come true come to life onscreen, how did that feel?
Catherine Hand: Oh my gosh! So, if you could think about this in 1980 when I was starting to find writers, there were no women to hire to write this screenplay that had any track record at all for this kind of film. None. You know, none.
Catherine Hand: I think there was one. The woman who wrote Romancing the Stone and then she was killed in a car crash. You know, there was very very limited people. I mean, E.T. didn’t come out until 1982, so there were just very few women. Now come to 2018 where not only do we have Jennifer Lee, but Ava DuVernay. This woman of color who has demonstrated that she is a talent with extraordinary vision and that she wanted to make A Wrinkle in Time and that Disney from Bob Iger on down were so supportive not only of the movie and especially of Ava. I thought that was a real game changer and I hope all studios do the same.