Mbatha-Raw tells TooFab we're in the middle of "an incredibly empowering moment."
Helmed by Ava DuVernay -- the first woman of color to direct a film with a budget over $100 million -- and starring actresses including Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and newcomer Storm Reid, the movie is certainly part of a moment in the industry. With Disney fresh off the success of "Black Panther," "A Wrinkle In Time" continues to celebrate diversity, both in front of and behind the camera.
Mbatha-Raw plays Dr. Kate Murray in the film, mother to Reid's Meg and award-winning biophysicist whose equally-brilliant husband (played by Chris Pine) vanishes without a trace.
"For me, it's an incredibly empowering moment, I mean to be able to have these three celestial beings that are Oprah, Reese and Mindy in this project, obviously led by Ava DuVernay, a very female-driven story. I think obviously now more than ever, I think the sense of momentum for women in the industry and the world at large is building," Mbatha-Raw told TooFab.
"There's a sense of community and unity," she continued. "As opposed to being the odd project and it being an anomaly, I feel like now the door's been smashed open and these diverse projects are actually being backed by big studios. They're not just been niche little indie films."
The actress said the success of movies like "Black Panther" and "Wonder Woman" certainly makes higher-ups take note. "I think that's when you can really see a sea change in culture," she added. "When these diverse casts or female-helmed movies make big money, that's where people at a business level really sit up and listen."
Thanks to the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, people truly are listening more than ever. It was because of these social movements, and seeing the power of some of her co-stars, that Mbatha-Raw decided to finally dip her toes into the Twitter pond as well. Though she had been active on Instagram, she was always hesitant when it came to tweeting.
"For a long time I was scared that I was too sensitive for social media. I think I was putting myself out there a lot in roles and you have to be so vulnerable and sensitive to be an actor on the one hand, but you know it's like 'Oh I don't want people say mean things about me' and I don't want to become like a vacuous, narcissistic selfie-taker," she explained. "So I was nervous about striking the balance between mystique and authenticity."
"But then you know I think with the whole #TimesUp movement and being inspired by people like Ava and Oprah, and actually being able to use your voice for good, you don't have to buy into the narcissistic culture of social media," she added. "Maybe there's a way to bring your own voice and be authentic and keep a balance. So I'm experimenting. We'll see. I'm definitely a dinosaur when it comes to how everything goes. But you know I think it's good to kind of engage with people and I think it's actually been amazing for different generations as well -- especially with a movie like "A Wrinkle in Time" -- to know people are interested in what you have to say and sometimes it's nice to have a root to use your voice."
See more from our Q&A with Mbatha-Raw below. "A Wrinkle In Time" is in theaters now.
Talking to the rest of the cast, it seems this movie means something different to every person. For you, what was it that you really hope resonates most with audiences?
You know, I loved I think what Ava said in the press conference and I've been talking a lot about today, you know, the idea of being who you are. You know, I think the idea that Storm, or her character, sort of starts off as this insecure, young girl and she's being bullied at school and she's not really comfortable in her own skin. And it's sort of, you know, who she is is enough. And she just needs to sort of acknowledge that within herself and she has all this potential, it's already there. It's just sort of acknowledging it and owning it. So that's a big one for me. And also, I think it's the power of love and family and you know, like [Chris Pine] was saying, the whole ambition, ego versus the soul idea. When the you can spend the whole career sort of succeeding in the outside world but if you forget about your family, that's what's important in life.
I think that works for both the parents that see the movie and the kids that go to it as well.
Absolutely. And there's literally some sort of role reversal that kind of happens with Meg sort of being the one to bring -- to educate -- her father on what's important and literally bring him back to Earth. And I think you know certainly in this day and age, the power of youth and the power of that purity of intention of young people having a voice and really being able to sometimes see things that adults have taken for granted or have been muddied by the social conditioning.
Now, one of the things Ava talked a lot about was trying to find the kid in you when you're watching a movie like this. Were there films from your childhood that you kind of were taken back to?
Oh my God, yeah. I mean this is like "The NeverEnding Story." I was so obsessed with the idea of being under the sheets with the torch like reading where, I think I did that like, got a broken light, read under my duvet you know. "The Wizard of Oz" was a big one for me, that was the first role I actually played as an 11 year old, I was Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz." So, you know the idea sort of traveling to different worlds you know from your home or your bedroom, has always been I think appealing. So, yeah this definitely appeals to the inner child in me.