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It's no secret that Hollywood blockbusters tend to hire directors of a certain demographic. If you randomly pick any of the tentpole movies from summer 2016, there's a very good chance that you'll pick a project helmed by a white man. The industry is making strides to changing that, however, as evidenced by the fact that filmmaker Ava Duvernay has broken through an important glass ceiling. She will be the first woman of color to helm a Hollywood film with a budget over $100 million thanks to her job making the live-action adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time.
We have been hearing reports about an adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's novel for years and years now, but the project made a huge move forward earlier this year when Ava DuVernay came on board to direct. Late last month Oprah Winfrey came on-board to produce, and now the Los Angeles Times has confirmed the numbers regarding the project's working budget and the director's milestone. The filmmaker responded to the report on Twitter, both recognizing the great filmmakers who have come before her, and the studio that will be supporting and helping her make the new movie:
As The LA Times points out, it's notable that Ava Duvernay is the first woman of color to take the helm of a six-digit Hollywood production, but it's also frankly still notable whenever any woman (regardless of race) or a minority (regardless of gender) get such a gig. Recent examples include Patty Jenkins taking the helm of the upcoming Wonder Woman movie, and Ryan Coogler making the new Black Panther film... but field of directors for big blockbusters is still dominated by white men. The fact that it's taken this long for a woman of color to get a position like this is pure proof of that.
First published in 1963, A Wrinkle In Time tells the story of a young girl named Meg Murry, who is the daughter of a genius government scientist who winds up going missing while working on a scientific concept known as the tesseract. With the assistance of three supernatural beings known as the Mrs. W's - Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which - Meg and her young brother Charles go on an interstellar journey through space and time searching for their father. Jennifer Lee, who is best known for her work on the Disney animated hit Frozen, is penning the screenplay, and Oprah Winfrey is not only attached to the project as a producer, but she is also going to be playing Mrs. Which.
Hopefully Ava DuVernay will be the first of many women of color to start taking on Hollywood blockbusters with budgets over $100 million, as the industry starts to become more inclusive and offer opportunities for diverse voices. After her work on Selma, we definitely couldn't be more excited to see DuVernay's work on A Wrinkle In Time.