Ava DuVernay is First Woman of Color to Direct $100 Million Live-Action Film

Ava DuVernay appeared on many a film buff's radar thanks to her work on Selma, the critically-acclaimed (and Oscar-winning) Martin Luther King Jr./Civil Rights movement drama that was released in 2014. In truth though, DuVernay has been directing films for well over a decade - with critical darlings I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere under her belt too - and served in a publicist/promotional capacity on such hits as Spider-Man 2, I, Robot, Collateral, and Hairspray during the 2000s. Thus, it's only fitting that she's now been considered to direct some big-budget features herself.

Marvel Studios did approach DuVernay with an offer to call the shots on the upcoming Black Panther solo movie, starring Chadwick Boseman as the film's super-heroic namesake. However, the filmmaker passed on that project and instead accepted another studio-backed film: A Wrinkle in Time, Disney's live-action adaptation of the Madeleine L'Engle fantasy novel of the same name (published in 1963). DuVernay has nevertheless set a new precedent with her decision to sign on for a Disney fairy tale feature.

Deadline (hat tip to Women in Hollywood) is reporting that A Wrinkle in Time has a budget that exceeds $100 million, making it the first such $100 million live-action film to be directed by a woman of color. The project has received an $18.1 million incentive from the California Film Commission to film in the state; it's also the largest incentive the program has offered since it expanded in 2014. A Wrinkle in Time is expected to bring in $85 million in qualified spending to California too, with a cast and crew numbering around 400.

DuVernay, for her part, posted the following on Twitter in response to these reports:

"Stones in the road? I'll save each one. Then one day I'll build a castle." - Fernando Pessoa

— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) August 2, 2016

Like other benchmarks involving either women and/or people of color in Hollywood, DuVernay setting a precedent by directing A Wrinkle in Time is long overdue but welcome news all the same. Big-budgets genre films in general have shown similar signs of progress in that respect lately, with recent examples including Peter Sohn (a Korean-American filmmaker) directing Pixar's The Good Dinosaur and Taiwanese-American director Justin Lin moving on from the Fast & Furious franchise to helm this year's Star Trek Beyond. On the horizon we have Patty Jenkins (Monster) directing Wonder Woman, Ryan Coogler (Creed) co-writing/directing Black Panther, Rick Famuyiwa (Dope) calling the shots on The Flash, and James Wan (The Conjuring 1 & 2) serving at the helm on Aquaman.

A Wrinkle in Time is also a unique situation, in that it's based on a novel written by a woman, adapted for the screen by another woman (Frozen's co-writer/director Jennifer Lee), helmed by another woman (DuVernay) and set to feature a primary cast with several women (Orphan Winfrey now among them). Exceptions like Fifty Shades of Grey aside, that's a rare situation for a Hollywood studio feature. As DuVernay suggests with her Twitter response, it's one step forward, but any progress in the name of inclusivity is welcome - setting the stage for more talented storytellers (like DuVernay) to have their voices heard on a bigger stage... and hopefully not just for the first time ever, either.

NEXT: Disney's Live-Action Fairy Tale Movie Release Slate

A Wrinkle in Time doesn't have an official release date yet, but is expected to arrive in 2017.

Source: Deadline [via Women in Hollywood]

Give Screen Rant a Thumbs up!
The Dark Knight: Gambol Originally Survived The Joker's Attack

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on ScreenRant?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in Movie News

Ava DuVernay is First Woman of Color to Direct $100 Million Live-Action Film