"The clock ticks, time bends, space shifts, and Oprah is your planet-hopping tour guide through all of it," Entertainment Weekly noted in showcasing a first look at director Ava DuVernay's (Selma, 13th) film adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. Oscar winner Jennifer Lee (Frozen) wrote the script for the project. In addition to Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, the film's cast includes Mindy Kaling (Mrs. Who), Reese Witherspoon (Mrs. Whatsit), Storm Reid (Meg), Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
DuVernay said she discovered the novel as an adult: "I went to school in Compton and it wasn't on my reading list. I saw so much beauty in it, but also so much meaning. She's 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."
She added that the first image she had "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 v-p 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 also observed: "My whole process with this film was, what if? With these women, I wondered, could we make them women of different ages, body types, races? Could we bring in culture, bring in history in their costumes? And in the women themselves, could we just reflect a fuller breadth of femininity?"