Selma director Ava DuVernay is due to make the leap to blockbuster filmmaking in a big way. Following her stellar work on the Martin Luther King Jr. drama, DuVernay became one of the most highly sought after directors in Hollywood. While she entered preliminary talks to helm Marvel’s Black Panther, she and the studio amicably decided to part ways after DuVernay realized the extent of the studio’s hand in making that particular feature. But now DuVernay has finally signed on to another film, and it’s a big one: Disney’s adaptation of the classic 1963 Madeline L’Engle novel A Wrinkle in Time.
We actually first heard word about DuVernay’s involvement with the picture a couple of weeks ago, when news broke that Disney was courting the Middle of Nowhere filmmaker to take the helm. Now, after six months of courtship by the studio, Deadline reports that the deal has closed and DuVernay will be directing from a script by Frozen co-writer/co-director Jennifer Lee.
The first in a series of novels in the vein of C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time revolves around a young girl whose government scientist father goes missing after working on a mysterious project. The subsequent search for her father takes her to alternate dimensions where she crosses paths with a variety of different creatures.
This is a massive project for DuVernay, who has shown a tremendous knack for character and POV in her previous features. And if you need proof that she knows her way around a set piece, look no further than the Edmund Pettus Bridge sequence in Selma. Here’s hoping she brings cinematographer Bradford Young along to craft what could be the start of a major sci-fi/fantasy franchise.
But this isn’t the only movie DuVernay is considering as her next feature. Whlie the Wrinkle in Time deal is the first to close, she is also in negotiations to helm the sci-fi drama Intelligent Life, which has Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o attached to star and tells of a U.N. worker in a department designed to represent humans in the event of first contact who falls for a mystery woman. That project has a script by Jurassic World scribes Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly, with Trevorrow and Frank Marshall producing, and Intelligent Life and A Wrinkle in Time are not mutually exclusive—she may very well make both. Which will go first? One assumes Disney wants to get moving sooner rather than later, but whatever the case, I’m just happy DuVernay is getting the chance to make a large-scale feature.