It seems, these days, that there are few favorite childhood novels left to adapt for the screen. One startling exception is Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, which chronicles the adventures of whiz kid Meg Murry as she follows three supernatural women and her precocious younger brother, Charles Wallace, on a cross-dimensional quest to rescue their father. The 1963 novel was an instant classic, racking up numerous awards, and avid readers have been anticipating its proper film adaptation ever since. (And no, we’re not counting the widely panned 2003 TV movie.)
Prayers of the young and young-at-heart were answered earlier this year, when Disney reveal that it is developing a Wrinkle in Time film, and excitement only grew after Selma director Ava DuVernay signed on to the project. Now, with Oprah Winfrey being among those lined up to play Murray’s otherworldly guides, reports are coming in that the film has cast its young lead too.
THR reports that Storm Reid will play protagonist Meg Murry in A Wrinkle in Time. Though she is young, viewers may recognize Reid from her already-impressive resume. The teen actor made her feature debut in the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, before going on to star in the Sundance hit Sleight. Reid is now preparing to make history as she signs on to star with Oprah in the highest-budgeted film ever directed by a woman of color. Jennifer Lee, award-winning writer/co-director of Disney’s Frozen, is also writing the script for A Wrinkle in Time.
This casting decision shows a real commitment on the studio’s part to reflect modern diversity in its films. Producers are also seeking out nonwhite actors to play Meg’s classmate, Calvin O’Keefe, and it also looks like a diverse array of actresses will represent the supernatural trio, Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling), Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon), and Mrs. Which (Winfrey).
It’s worth noting that the original A Wrinkle in Time novel says nothing specific about Meg’s skin color. While the book does specify that her mother is white, that does not mean Meg cannot be represented as a mixed race child, for example. More importantly, when Meg’s appearance is brought up in the source material, it’s generally in relation to her insecurities as an adolescent – something that all young girls can understand and represent well, regardless of race or ethnicity.
If viewers should have any concerns in the wake of this casting decision, it should be for Storm Reid, not against her. One only hopes that Reid will not have to deal with the backlash that Quvenzhané Wallis face when she was cast in the 2014 film version of the musical Annie. Moreover, casting with inclusivity in mind, as is the case here, is (thankfully) increasingly becoming the expected standard for Hollywood films – something that Disney-owned franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe (for example, see the casting for Spider-Man: Homecoming) have started catching onto as well.
A Wrinkle in Time is slated to begin filming this fall. We’ll let you know when an official theatrical release date is announced.