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browngirlcomics ([personal profile] browngirlcomics) wrote2017-02-04 05:52 pm

A Wrinkle In Time

I woke up the other day suddenly excited about the forthcoming film adaptation of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle In Time. Disney is producing it, so a baseline of quality is inevitable, but what's really exciting is that Ava DuVernay will be directing it.

Ava DuVernay directed Selma (about the voting rights marches led by American Civil Rights icons such as Martin Luther King) and 13th (a Netflix documentary about mass incarceration), and has been an outspoken proponent of black representation, race and diversity in Hollywood.

Certainly, the cast she has assembled already seems very inclusive: the main character, Meg Murry, will be portayed by a black girl, Storm Reid (who seems adorable, by the way). Charles Wallace, her precocious baby brother, is to be little Fillipino cutie Deric McCabe, and their mom, Dr. Kate Murry, will be played by black British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw (who I got to see playing Nell Gwynn at London's Shakespeare Globe Theatre, natch, though you might recognise her from Jupiter Ascending or Larry Crowne). Mrs. Which, one of the trio of celestial fairy godmothers in the book will be played by Oprah Winfrey. OPRAH!!! The amazing Mindy Kaling (and fellow Tamil, yay) will play another in the trio, Mrs. Who, will Reese Witherspoon rounds up the group.

Chris Pine will play the Murry kids dad, which is also cool and makes total sense to me. I always had the sense of the Murray parents being young and beautiful (as well as incredibly intelligent, obviously), and Gugu and Chris fit that to a T.

What I remember of the book, no one really seems to take Kate Murry seriously following her husband's disappearance, so I have to wonder if the casting here is also a bit of meta-commentary on DuVernay's part -- it seems all too believable that no one would take a black woman seriously, even one as accomplished as Kate, especially in the absence of her white absence. I could be wrong, of course -- there is so much else going on in the story that "meta-commentary" might be pushing it.

As DuVernay herself points out in an interview with Collider, she will be designing planets, and dealing with all the minutiae of a intercosmic adventure. It's really exciting to see a woman, and a person of colour, be given the opportunity by a media giant like Disney to take on a blockbuster like this, and be allowed to shape visual stories that aren't just about slaves, maids, (Indian slums, ninjas -- insert cultural stereotype, repeat ad nauseam).

I took a look at DuVernay's Instagram to see if she had posted any tantalising previews for Wrinkle there and happily, she did. here is an amazing collage of a shoot in California, featuring Meg (who is as nerdy and sweet as I've always imagined). Meanwhile, this is a shot taken in New Zealand with a location scout -- who happens to be a "proud Maori man", as DuVernay says in the caption. She also adds the tag #inclusivecrew, which suggests that the people working with her behind the scenes to bring Wrinkle to the big screen come from as large a range of backgrounds as the crew.

It also looks like Calvin, Meg's schoolmate who joins her, Charles Wallace & the Mrs. Ws on their adventure, will indeed be a ginger in the film. The actor, Levi Miller, seems to have red hair in this cast snap shared by DuVernay. Calvin is described as a redhead of Irish descent, and I did see a few people hoping that they'd stay true to that, so everyone should be happy (there is an interesting discussion to be had about attitudes towards gingers in the UK, which the above concerns might tie into, though I'm not the one to talk about it -- maybe another time!).

My only problem here is that the movie is still more than a year away, with its release due in April 2018. Until then, I'm going to see if my local library has a copy of Hope Larson's graphic novel adaptation to keep me occupied. And probably the print version of the book itself, to be honest. This is where I admit it that I haven't so much read the book, as I have listened to it. An audiobook version of it, in fact, read by L'Engle herself. Either way, I have a big feeling the book is going to be just as good, or even bette, or the second go-around.

***


"Life, with its rules, its obligations, and its freedoms, is like a sonnet: You're given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself." - A Wrinkle In Time, Madeline L'Engle

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