The first images from Disney and Selma director Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time adaptation showcase a number of the film’s A-list stars – including, Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling and Reese Witherspoon as the three “Mrs. W’s”. A Wrinkle in Time is based on the acclaimed 1963 sci-fi/fantasy novel of the same name by Madeleine L’Engle and is one of the rare upcoming Disney live-action releases that is neither a re-imagining of one of the Mouse House’s animated classics (a la the upcoming Mulan and The Lion King re-tellings), nor a sequel to a beloved Disney title (a la next year’s Mary Poppins Returns).
Directed by DuVernay and written for the big screen by Jennifer Lee (the co-writer/director of Frozen), A Wrinkle in Time tells the story of Meg Murray (newcomer Storm Reid) – a young teenager who goes searching for her missing scientist father (Chris Pine), taking her on a wondrous journey across the cosmos in the process. In her efforts to “wrinkle” time and space and find her father, Meg is assisted by three ancient, wise, celestial beings: the extra-ancient Mrs. Which (Winfrey), the curious-minded Mrs. Whatsit (Witherspoon) and the philosophically-inclined Mrs. Who (Kaling).
DuVernay has confirmed that the first trailer for A Wrinkle in Time will premiere at this weekend’s D23, with the trailer expected to then be released online not too long thereafter (assuming it doesn’t drop ahead of time). In the meantime, EW has unveiled a collection of first-look photos that highlight the aforementioned characters in the film, along with Levi Miller (Pan) as Meg’s friend Calvin. You can check out those images in the gallery below.
Speaking with EW, DuVernay admitted that she hadn’t been exposed to L’Engle’s original novel while growing up, but was immediately struck by its ideas upon reading it for the first time:
“I saw so much beauty in it, but also so much meaning. [L’Engle was] a very radical thinker and she embedded her sense of what society should and could be in this piece, and a lot of it I agree with. And through that, the story of this girl saving the world and being out there in the universe slaying the darkness, it also says a lot about slaying our own dragons.”
The filmmaker, best known for such socially-conscious works as the Oscar-winning Civil Rights drama Selma and the Oscar-nominated U.S. criminal justice system documentary 13th, in turn saw the film version of A Wrinkle in Time as an opportunity to explore both the ideas and themes of L’Engle’s source material through a multicultural and multiethnic lens – starting with the casting of Meg Murray herself and extending through to the movie’s larger supporting ensemble:
“The first image [I had in my head] was to place a brown girl in that role of Meg, a girl traveling to different planets and encountering beings and situations that I’d never seen a girl of color in. All of those scenes struck my fancy, and then it was also something that [Disney VP of production] Tendo Nagenda said to me, which I’ll never forget. One of the things that really made me want to read it was when he said, ‘Ava, imagine what you would do with the worlds.’ Worlds! ‘Planets no one’s ever seen or heard of,’ he said. There aren’t any other black women who have been invited to imagine what other planets in the universe might look and feel like. I was interested in that and in a heroine that looked like the girls I grew up with.”
DuVernay’s approach to adapting A Wrinkle in Time is arguably as radical and innovative as L’Engle’s touchstone novel was when it was first published more than fifty years ago – making the film one of the more intriguing installments in Disney’s live-action release slate for the next four years or so. It also sounds as though DuVernay’s movie will very much have an auteur feel to it, bringing to mind Disney’s own acclaimed Pete’s Dragon remake from indie filmmaker David Lowery (which was released last year). For these reasons and more, it’s good to know that the first theatrical trailer for A Wrinkle in Time is right around the corner and will provide an even better idea of what to expect from the film (including, a closer look at some of the phantasmic imagery that is teased in these official screenshots), very soon.
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