Oprah Winfrey is one of many big names set to star in Disney’s upcoming live-action versions of classic stories, and she’s set to make a big impact. Winfrey, who parlayed her talk show empire into an entire television network, was front and center in the recently released trailer for director Ava DuVernay’s upcoming adaption of A Wrinkle in Time. Winfrey plays Mrs. Which in the live-action adaption of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 novel, alongside co-stars Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine, and Storm Reid. Oprah landed a coveted role in A Wrinkle in Time, but if you think the role in the fantasy flick is out of Oprah’s wheelhouse, think again.
“It is a character who is one of the wisest women in the universe and is an angelic celestial being who is going to get to wear amazing costumes…who wouldn’t say yes to that?” Winfrey said at Disney’s D23 Expo, according to Entertainment Tonight.
Oprah had some fun with fans at D23. After debuting the teaser poster for A Wrinkle In Time, Oprah shouted to the crowd, “You get a poster! You get a poster! Everybody gets a poster!” Winfrey was poking fun at her famous 2004 Oprah Winfrey Show car giveaway when she gifted cars to everyone in her studio audience.
Oprah told the Los Angeles Times that her A Wrinkle in Time character is “a cross between Glinda the Good Witch and Maya Angelou.” Winfrey also revealed that her involvement in A Wrinkle in Time started because she has a close friendship with DuVernay. Oprah explained that she loves New Zealand, so when her pal Ava went there to scout for the movie, Oprah decided to go visit her.
“She’s telling me about the ice caves and glaciers and mountains and turquoise lakes, I told her, ‘I am coming to visit,'” Oprah explained.
“And she said, If you’re going to visit, why don’t you work? Would you mind reading the script? So I did. And I believe I am Mrs. Which! You know, she’s born of the stars and she’s a wise woman coming from another cosmos.”
Oprah said her high-profile Disney role was “done out of friendship in the beginning and turned into a great experience.” Winfrey also said she started to cry when she saw footage from the rough stages of the film, saying DuVernay “put her soul” into the film.
“And Disney has given her the luxury of time, which she has never had before,” Oprah teased. “It’s going to pay off in ways you can’t imagine.”
In an email to the Times, DuVernay, who previously worked with Winfrey on the film Selma, described the Mrs. Which character as “an all-knowing, all-wise celestial being who brings good and light to the Universe,” and she praised Oprah’s portrayal of the character.
“She dazzled me and everyone on set with the ease and effortlessness of her performance. It’s saying a lot when you can make all-knowing and all-wise look easy! But she did just that,” DuVernay wrote.
“Oprah is a lot of things. Leader. Legend. Mogul. But we should really add a formidable actress to that list.”
A Wrinkle in Time co-star Chris Pine told ET he learned a lot while working with Winfrey.
“I loved working with Oprah,” Pine said. “She’s a force of nature. There’s a lot to learn from a woman who has made this kind of impact, culturally and in the business, and you see why.”
Oprah Winfrey isn’t the only surprising star set to become a Disney legend. Will Smith has been cast as the Genie in Disney’s live-action Aladdin, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is fronting a movie based on the Jungle Cruise ride, and Colin Farrell will star in Tim Burton’s live-action Dumbo remake.
You can see Oprah Winfrey in the trailer for A Wrinkle in Time below.
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards]