“For me, she was a cross between Maya Angelou, who was a mentor, friend, mother figure for me, and Glinda the Good Witch, who is my favorite all time mythical magical character,” the media mogul, 64, revealed about her character Mrs. Which in an exclusive behind-the-scenes clip.
“You have a little bit of Glinda, and then you have a lot of Maya. And so you combine the two and put me in the center as the vessel for it and you gets Mrs. Which,” she added.
Angelou appeared several times on The Oprah Winfrey Show before her death in 2014. “I’ve been blessed to have Maya Angelou as my mentor, mother/sister, and friend since my 20’s,” Winfrey told Variety after the poet’s death. “She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life.”
Winfrey stars in the Disney adaptation as a celestial being, also known as a supernova, who helps a teenager named Meg on a intergalactic quest to find her father, while also helping her gain the confidence to fight the forces of evil. Costars Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit) and Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who) play her quirky compatriots.
“Honestly, to be playing a supernova, who uses her wisdom to help guide these children in their path to what’s right and good toward the light, I mean, hello, speaking my language in every way,” Oprah said of taking the role, which she previously told PEOPLE “was one of the best experiences of my career.”
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In the clip above, Witherspoon said, “Oprah was cast so perfectly to [play] Mrs. Which, who has seen literally everything in the universe since the beginning of time.”
She added, “If you could think of a human that could embody that it’d be Oprah Winfrey. She really encourages all of us to find the light inside of us and share that with the world, which is sort of what Oprah does.”
A Wrinkle in Time is available today on Blu-ray, DVD and digital.