Talk of a big screen adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic story A Wrinkle in Time began in 2010, with a script by Bridge to Terabithia scribe Jeff Stockwell being marketed to Disney. Fast forward to 2014, and Disney is pushing forward with Oscar-winning Frozen writer and co-director Jennifer Lee as screenwriter instead.
The central character in A Wrinkle in Time is the teenage Meg Murry, on a journey with her young brother through time and space to find their missing scientist father. With her track record for Disney, which also includes Wreck-It Ralph and Zootopia, and skill at writing strong female characters, Lee seems a good fit for the project. This year, Disney offered Selma director Ava DuVernay the chance to helm the upcoming film.
Now Deadline is reporting that DuVernay is officially on board, and the director retweeted a quote from the official Madeleine L’Engle Twitter account, as further proof of her involvement in the project. This could be one of two big sci-fi films ahead for DuVernay, who is also still in the running for DreamWorks’ Intelligent Life, an alien encounter thriller with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o attached as star.
DuVernay, who already had an extensive career in Hollywood as a publicist, found increasing success when she stepped up to directing. Beginning with short films and documentaries, her low-budget feature film The Middle of Nowhere won her the Grand Jury Prize and Best Dramatic Director awards at Sundance 2012. The acclaimed and Oscar-winning movie Selma, a view of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1965 voting rights marches, also earned DuVernay a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.
A Wrinkle in Time is a complex book filled with fantastical beings and journeys, a children’s story that earned many initial rejections from publishers because its intellectual and ethereal content defied precise categorization as either a youth or adult sci-fi novel. Longtime fans of the book will be hoping that the unique story won’t be “Disney-ized” into something way blander than the original.
While it’s not necessary for a quality film with a female hero, it is nice to see a big Hollywood movie with a teenage girl at its center, written and directed by women. Lee brings the Disney experience to the project, but DuVernay’s skill at telling the stories of real people could serve A Wrinkle in Time well. The novel was as much about Meg’s developing maturity and the loving bond with her brother as it was about a time-traveling adventure. Hopefully the film adaptation will live up to the intricacies of the book, and draw new fans in to the classic series. Disney is likely hoping the movie will be successful enough to also warrant adapting at least two of the follow-ups, A Wind in the Door and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.
We’ll bring you more information on A Wrinkle in Time as it becomes available.