Once upon a time, Disney released an animated film called Frozen, a musical comedy (loosely) based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen; upon arriving in theaters, it performed well above studio expectations, breaking 1994’s The Lion King previous opening weekend record. If Disney’s long term goals for Frozen are loose for the time being, though, their short term plans for Jennifer Lee – who wrote the film’s script and co-directed it alongside Chris Buck – are beginning to crystallize.
In Lee’s case, Frozen has given her room to leverage her follow up project, which happens to be an adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 science fantasy novel, A Wrinkle in Time. (So sayeth Variety.) Reportedly, Lee has already stirred the interest of Disney executives with her pitch for the film, reinvigorating long dormant plans to bring L’Engle’s novel to the big screen; naturally, she’ll still be elbows deep in Frozen‘s new life in the land of multi-platform development, but even someone responsible for a brand that lucrative deserves a chance to put their creative juices to use elsewhere.
On paper (pun only mildly intended), A Wrinkle in Time is right in Lee’s wheelhouse, a family oriented story about a young girl on a quest to track down her missing scientist father; Frozen, as well as Wreck-It Ralph, her first major gig as scribe, both put females at their forefronts, never slacking on layering their heroines with all the idiosyncrasies and nuances that make for great, memorable characters. A Wrinkle in Time lets Lee continue with her focus on complex leading ladies, one of the most pressing topics du jour in the movie world. Maybe comic book movies don’t always get their female characters right, but Lee sure does. (Maybe she can help change perception as regards TV being the better platform for sharply written female roles, too.)
The arrangement couldn’t be more perfect (or timely). Of course, there remains the question of who will take the reins on A Wrinkle in Time once Lee has the screenplay ready to go; depending on how fast Disney wants the film in theaters, their search for a director may take more or less time, but for the time being the chair is empty and no mentions have been made about casting. None of this should be surprising, given that there’s nothing in place for the film beyond Lee’s vision, but those inclined toward curiosity might wonder what, exactly, that entails.
What does Lee have up her sleeve for giving L’Engle’s original work a proper cinematic treatment? Perhaps she doesn’t need anything more than the sway Frozen gives her to grease the wheels on giving the story its due diligence (unlike the abominably bad television movie version from 2003). Given how much her take on The Snow Queen departs from the source, it’s pretty safe bet that she’s got a good hook for making A Wrinkle in Time her own.
We’ll keep you up to date on A Wrinkle in Time info as it becomes available.