In 2003, a television adaptation of the film was produced by multiple Canadian production companies to be distributed in the United States by Disney. The TV movie was directed by John Kent Harrison, from a teleplay written by Susan Shilliday Although footage from the project appeared in a trailer on Spy Kids DVD and VHS copies as early as 2001, broadcast of the completed film was delayed several times; it finally aired in the United States on May 10, 2004, on ABC.
Meg Murry is having a difficult time. Her father, astrophysicist Dr. Jack Murry , has mysteriously disappeared. Her youngest brother, Charles Wallace, a genius, is teased and belittled and thought to be stupid because he does not talk to anyone but family. Meg does not get along with her peers, teachers, her 10-year-old twin brothers, or even with herself.
Into this unhappy situation comes a stranger, the mysterious, weirdly dressed Mrs. Whatsit , and her friends Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which. They take Meg, Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin O'Keefe via tesseract to other planets, preparing the children for a mission to rescue Dr. Murry from the malevolent "IT" on the planet Camazotz. Along the way they ride on the back of a beautiful winged creature (the transformed Mrs. Whatsit), learn about the shadow of tangible evil known as the Black Thing, and visit the Happy Medium.
Once they reach Camazotz, however, it is up to Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace to face the dangers of CENTRAL Central Intelligence, aided only by each other and a pair of Mrs Who's glasses. They do find and rescue Dr. Murry, but Charles Wallace is seduced away from his family by the Man With the Red eyes, one of IT's shapes, and thus comes under the control of IT. Dr. Murry manages to tesser himself, Meg and Calvin away from Camazotz, but Charles Wallace is left behind, trapped in the mind of IT. Angry with her father, Calvin and herself for leaving Charles Wallace behind, Meg is cared for by the sightless and motherly Aunt Beast on the planet Ixchel, and argues with Mrs. Which about returning to rescue her brother. Returning alone to Camazotz, Meg must find a quality in herself—love—to free Charles Wallace, and possibly free the planet Camazotz as well.
- Katie Stuart as Meg Murry
- Gregory Smith as Calvin O'Keefe
- David Dorfman as Charles Wallace Murry
- Chris Potter as Dr. Jack Murry
- Kyle Secor as the Man With Red Eyes and "Hank", Jack Murry's research partner
- Sean Cullen as the Happy Medium
- Sarah-Jane Redmond as Dr. Dana Murry
- Kate Nelligan as Mrs. Which the witch
- Alison Elliott as Mrs. Who the talking lady
- Alfre Woodard as Mrs. Whatsit, the lady with the clothes
- Munro Chambers and Thomas Chambers as The Twins
In a Q&A with MSNBC/Newsweek Entertainment reporter Melinda Henneberger, L'Engle said of the film "I have glimpsed it... I expected it to be bad, and it is."
The film was premiered at the Toronto Children's Film Festival in 2003. There it won the festival's 2003 Best Feature Film Award, as chosen "by Sprockets audiences".
Originally produced as a television miniseries, the film was at one point intended to air on two nights in February 2002. It was postponed, however, rescheduled for February 2003, postponed again, cut to 128 minutes, and aired in a single three-hour block on May 10, 2004.
The film was released on DVD, on November 16, 2004, ISBN 0-7888-4336-2. The special features included deleted scenes, a "behind the scenes" segment, and a "very rare" interview with Madeleine L'Engle who discusses the novel.
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