You may recognize actress Rowan Blanchard as Riley from “Girl Meets World,” but she also plays a small supporting role in Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time, now in theaters. Her role as a bully was not in the original classic book but is oh so relevant in today’s society. We had the opportunity to chat with Rowan about her role in the film, and her experience shadowing Director Ava DuVernay.
I was invited as media to cover this event. All opinions are my own.
Rowan Blanchard on her Role in A Wrinkle in Time
The powerful role Rowan plays in A Wrinkle in Time provides an insight into bullies and their demons. While her role is small on the big screen, she was really happy to be apart of the film, and have the opportunity shadow Ava DuVernay.
When asked about playing a bad girl, Rowan mentions, “it was definitely different for me. I felt like I was doing it in this way where it wouldn’t be 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.” Adding, “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.”
Rowan shared that she went to public school until the 6th grade, and then started homeschooling. What she realized about public school is the scrutiny that young girls are put through, sharing, “I think it’s just this horrible sort of competition is bred between girls, especially in like those years that we’re talking about, like 10, 11, 12 where everything is really reduced to your body and your appearance. And so, your entire worth is based in what clothes you’re wearing and if you have the cool backpack. And I just remember how much time I invested in sixth grade in making sure that I bought the things that were cool. And looking back on that now – that doesn’t matter.”
With your character not being in the book, did that make it easier or harder for you to develop her?
Rowan said, “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 [Calvin] and Meg and her brother. So, 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.”
Rowan mentioned how it made her aware “of how the bully is always the person who’s hurting so deeply inside, which is such a stereotypical thing to say but very true. And I think we see that in one scene with Veronica….the layers of her body insecurities and all of these things that are very, very real, that teenage girls sort of access every day.”
One thing Rowan did learn from the film was by shadowing Ava, sharing, “her magnitude as a person is so overwhelming. Just the idea that this woman has worked so hard and still remembers everybody’s name. That was the one thing that I realized so much – 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.”
When speaking about the differences of working with men and women directors, Rowan mentioned, “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.”
Rowan Blanchard’s message for parents, “adults are so shocked when teenagers say that they’re sad, which is really interesting. 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 they’re really developmental I think really scary years.” Adding, “[it’s] really nice that this movie is coming out and that Storm sort of represents this 12, 13 age where you’re still realizing so much about yourself and you’re not yet really that far from your childhood.”
A Wrinkle in Time was made for young pre-teens and teens. To help encourage them to be their own light; to believe in themselves. It’s so important for young kids to hear that.