Gugu Mbatha-Raw is Mrs. Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. As she walked into the room full of bloggers Mbatha-Raw was smiling and full of energy for our interview session. After seeing her on-screen on several amazing films such as Belle, Beauty and the Beast and 12 Years a Slave seeing her as Mrs. Murray a super intelligent scientist and mother. Thanks to Disney for inviting me for this amazing press junket for the WrinkleInTimeEvent, all of my opinions in my posts during the series are my own. Excited to share our interview with Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Becoming Dr. Murry for A Wrinkle in Time
It was very intersting to learn how Mbatha-Raw became her character as she is not a mom. Ther was so much power and vunerability in her character. She did a fantastic job and shared some insight.
“I’ve never played a mum before. I don’t have kids. When Ava first approached me to play the mum in this I was kind of like, oh are you sure? I don’t know if I can pull this off. And then I saw a picture of Storm and I was like, oh my gosh, look at that, look at her. I saw myself in her. And it was really not lost on me that growing up I loved The Neverending Story and The Wizard of Oz and all of those incredible, fantastical adventures, but I didn’t have anybody who looked like myself and Storm as the heroine in those kind of movies when I was young. So there was a special sort of cultural significance for me to be ushering in the next generation in that way. I don’t get to go to all the fantastical lands that Storm and Deric get to go to in the story, so I really felt like my job was to ground their domestic reality and create that warm, solid family unit that everyone was so desperate to return to.”
Working with Ava DuVernay
“I had met Ava when Selma was coming out, the same time as Belle. There were a few press things. We’d always met each other at sparkly industry events, but we’d never had a real conversation. And she invited me to be a part of this short film, a series of shorts that she made for the opening of the African-American Museum of History and Culture at the Smithsonian. And we did one short, one day of filming to represent Hurricane Katrina in this series of different shorts. I think maybe she was sussing me out that day, because literally a couple of weeks later I got the offer for Wrinkle. Just talking to her about it and her passion and her vision and knowing that she’d cast Storm and how she wanted to tell this story, it was a no-brainer to me. I really wanted to be a part of this game changing moment in the industry. I could feel that this, the way that she was going to cast this film, the fact that it’s historically significant that she’s even directing this film as a woman of color. And for me, I wanted to be a part of that girl gang. I wanted to be celebrating what this means culturally. Did any of the lines in the film really resonate with her?”
Diversity on the Big Screen
As a minority myself it is always refreshing to hear when actors also share the frustration of not being represented on screen. Here’s what Gugu shared with us on taking on the challenge of having the courage to go into acting:
“I think you know I credit my mom with encouraging me and instilling confidence in me and she always supported me. I think you know from going to ballet at age 4. I was an only child so I didn’t have anybody to play with. That was how I found my playmates and my siblings in a sense was in my dance class, in my drama group and the school choir and you know.
Also, my mum was a nurse. She was a single parent. She worked full-time. She didn’t enjoy her job. I would see her come home from work really tired. And I remember thinking quite clearly when I was about 11, I was like okay, I’m going to do a job that I love because I can see that this is wearing on my mom. And I you know, I respect and I know that she’s doing that as a sacrifice for me, but if I get the chance I’m going to do what I love. So I made my hobby my job basically.”
It was such a pleasure to learn more about Gugu. Make sure to catch her onscreen as Mrs. Murry in A Wrinkle In Time on Friday, March 9th!