Hollywood came to Dunwoody’s Chesnut Elementary School March 2 when former student and now movie star Storm Reid visited to talk to students, donate books to the school library and promote her new movie, “A Wrinkle in Time,” that comes out next week.
Reid, now in the 9th grade, attended Chesnut Elementary from kindergarten through second grade. She now lives in Los Angeles. She still has family in metro Atlanta, including cousins who attend Chesnut Elementary School.
She stars as Meg in “A Wrinkle in Time,” a young girl who must travel through the universe to find her father. The film, opening in theaters on March 9, is directed by Ava DuVernay of “Selma” fame and stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kalin. The move is based on the award-winning classic children’s novel of the same name written by Madeline L’Engle.
Chesnut Principal Veronica Williams was the assistant principal when Reid attended the school. When asked if she remembered her, she answered, “Absolutely!”
“She was bubbly, she was bright, she was very, very energetic,” Williams said. Her name, Storm, is also unusual and Williams said she was sometimes called “Little Stormy” while at Chesnut Elementary.
“We kind of teased her about her name because it is such a different and unique name,” she said. “But she was very smart and the fact she is an actress now is very fitting. No one is surprised. We saw that a long time ago.”
The book’s opening line is, “It was a dark and stormy night.” While not exactly her name, Reid said she felt as though those words meant she was destined to play the role of Meg.
“I thought it was so awesome. The universe works and I think it was meant to be,” she said.
Williams remembered when Reid got her first pair of glasses in the first grade and how she loved showing them to everyone. “She really began showing her personality … and she blossomed after that,” she said.
Reid also remembers getting those glasses.
“I couldn’t see and I had problems with seeing so I was moved up to the front of the class in all of my classes. And when I finally got my glasses that I picked out myself and really loved it was just an exciting time for me and my teachers,” she said.
During her talk with the students in the school’s cafeteria, Reid spoke of the importance of being a young woman of color and making sure people like her are represented in film. She spoke highly of Ava DuVernay’s commitment to that as well.
“She was so amazing and she’s not just a director in my eyes,” Reid said. “She puts all of her creative input and passion into the film and she makes sure she has a representative and inclusive set, not only with cast but with the crew. I feel like she is an amazing person.”
Reid began acting and modeling and acting at age three and her elementary school teachers knew she was pursuing an acting career at a young age. “We recognized Storm as being very vivacious and outgoing. She was talkative,” Williams said.
“She was expressive and articulate and she was the type of student we all loved,” she said. “She was special.”
Many of Chesnut’s fourth and fifth grade students have read “A Wrinkle in Time” and all students know about the movie, Williams said. “And in one week they will get to see the move and say, ‘I met this person,’” she said. “This is so exciting for Chesnut.”