I’m sharing highlights from my interview with Rowan Blanchard and her role in Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time. She is known for her role as Riley Matthews on the Disney Channel series Girl Meets World. We talked about her future endeavors, working with Ava, and the message she hopes girls and boys take from this movie.
Rowan Blanchard | Her Role In Wrinkle In Time, Empowering Girls + Future Dreams
Rowan Blanchard plays a small, but powerful role in Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time (Veronica Kiley). While she is initially seen as the bully to Meg Murray, we later see Rowan’s character facing challenges of her own. Often time a bully is a person that is hurt. And we all know that hurt people, hurt people. Rowan sat down to talk to us about her role in this film geared towards younger kids, working with Ava, and empowering girls. She also told us that even though she is in a movie with Oprah, she had not met her yet! However, after our interview with her, she was going to eventually meet the great Oprah. She was excited about meeting Oprah, and we totally understood her feelings.
On playing a bad girl role in A Wrinkle In Time
“It was definitely different for me. I felt like I was doing it in this way where it wouldn’t be, gosh, minimized to just a very stereotypical mean girl role. I really trusted Ava to make a character that felt complex and more than just a mean girl. I think there’s a lot of layers to Veronica that we get to see throughout the film. There’s a lot of different parts to her that you sort of see as the film unfolds where she’s more than just the bad girl or the mean girl, which was a relief.”
The message Rowan hopes young girls and boys get after seeing A Wrinkle In Time
“IThis film marks such an incredible and unique time in history where so many people who have never seen themselves on screen are able to go to a film and see themselves starring in a huge sci-fi movie. Like, that’s massive. I was just looking on Twitter, there’s a lot of organizations led by young teenage black girls to buy movie tickets for a bunch of other young black girls to go see this movie. And just that alone, the fact that people are organizing like this and are so prepared and ready for this thing to come out makes me feel so excited to be even a small part of it.”
On developing a character that was not in the book
“I read the book in third grade and there’s a photo of me doing a book report on it, which is crazy. But now I’m like, here; she was added into the script to sort of add this character, an element of friendship for Meg coming from another girl because, in the book, that’s not really there. It’s very much about Meg and her dad and Meg and this boy and Meg and her brother. So, I think it was really important to Ava and to Jennifer to have a girl character that Meg could have in her life and that they could kind of learn from each other.
On working with Ava
“One thing that I definitely learned so much through filming this was Ava let me shadow her as a director. I learned a lot just about kind of what I want to do later in my life through Ava.
I think one thing that I grew up sort of watching directors do because they, unfortunately, like, I hope I get to direct–, work with more women directors but the approach that it seems from male directors is that it’s so–, it’s so normal to scream at people or to like use your voice in ways that are very aggressive in order to get what you want. And it’s always sort of inspiring and interesting for me to watch how women directors have to occupy the space that’s been left for them to get the attention and to get the take that they want without being as aggressive because you can’t. You’ll be called a diva or you’ll be called very hard to work with. It’s just been very cool to watch how women occupy that space.”
Rowan has dreams of being a director herself one day, so being able to shadow Ava for a day was a priceless experience. “I looked to her as so much more than just an inspirational director. She’s just like this incredible person that I’m so grateful to have in my life in so many ways. I got to work with her. Literally, Ava. But seriously, you guys, her magnitude as a person is so overwhelming. And just the idea that this woman has worked so hard and still remembers everybody’s name. Like, that was the one thing that I realized so much on working on the same side as her is she knows the entire crew by name and just being able to follow this woman who’s so loyal to everyone around her and so giving and wants to not only succeed but wants to bring people up with her, it was so incredible.”
On being a warrior
“I have to give myself permission to be a warrior on the daily. It’s not something that is a very conscious thing where I feel totally empowered and fearless every day. There are some areas that I feel more confident and then others. Going off on that piano with Oprah, Reese and Mindy, I felt like the odd one out. I will tell you guys the truth. But like, that’s a second where I have to be like, I deserve to be here and I’m here, a part of something bigger than myself. There’s just so many moments on the daily where I have to remind myself that it’s okay that I am in the room.”
Rowan talks about the book she just wrote
“Yeah, I made this book called Still Here that just came out about a week and a half ago. And I am–, it was just really important to me I guess to have these concrete forms of how I view art, which I think is a lot more accessible than how we think of art in a museum or how we think of art as a big painting. I was really always inspired by my friends who kept diaries and whose thoughts were so pure and unfiltered. And being a teenager and specifically being a teenage girl or it’s just this point where your thoughts are not as informed with the outside world yet and you’re still processing so much yourself that your writing is more unfiltered. So, I sort of made this thing and I had I think 20 other contributors that helped me kind of compiled this thing that I think is about teenage survival. And so, yeah, it’s cool that it’s sort of coming out during the time that this is. It feels like it’s a really cool time to be a teenager. It’s also a scary time. That’s cool. I don’t know. There’s a lot of feelings.”
Her advice to young girls
“I think one thing that I realized actually just through making the book that I made was that adults are so shocked when teenagers say that they’re sad, which is really interesting. And especially that age like 11, 12, I remember that was the time where I was most confused because those are right before you’re a teenager and you know that when you’re a teenage girl, there are certain things that you are expected to do. But those years right before our where you’re not a baby but you’re not like a teenage girl. And they’re really developmental I think really scary years.”
Rowan is a young woman with a strong head on her shoulders. I look forward to seeing what she does in the next few years, and eventually seeing her name on the director chair!
You can catch Rowan and the rest of the cast in Disney’s A Wrinkle In Time, now playing in theaters everywhere!