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Next month, a classic piece of literature will come to life when Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time debuts in theaters. The film looks like a proper adaptation of Madeleine L'Engle's story, but one noticeable difference that has been made to the original story is the casting of a far more diver ensemble of actors to play these classic characters. So why the change? The Selma director addressed the diversity of A Wrinkle in Time's cast to CinemaBlend and other outlets during a visit to the set last year and explained that the casting represents the real diversity that exists in our own world, saying:
I just wanted a cast that reflects the real world. We're not doing anything that shouldn't have already been done. The question is, why hasn't this been done before? There's nothing outstanding and outlandish about this cast. It's outstanding and outlandish that there's been casts without true reflections and inclusiveness of our daily lives. It's about the way that you see it. So, I get that question a lot and my question back is, why haven't we been asking that question for the last 75 years or so? That's my answer to that.
If you have read the book, then you already know that the original version of A Wrinkle in Time doesn't focus excessively on the concept of diversity. In the original text and the previous movie, Meg Murry was a white girl with red hair, but Ava DuVernay made a point to cast African-American actress Storm Reid in the role. Beyond that, the parts of Mrs. Which and Mrs. Who will be played by Oprah Winfrey and Mindy Kaling, respectively, and the role of Red will be performed by Ant-Man's Michael Pena. The intention was not to force diversity for the sake of diversity, but to create an ensemble that felt indicative of the real diversity that exists in the world.
Building off of those ideas, Ava DuVernay explained later in the set visit that she ultimately hopes that a movie like A Wrinkle in Time can move the bar forward and set the standard for how we view inclusivity in our films, allowing us to treat it like the norm instead of as a novelty. DuVernay continued:
I hope this kind of film is the new normal and that they don't see anything odd or unique about a cast like this. I think we're a generation that's moving closer and closer to that, so that's a beautiful thing.
Of course, it's worth mentioning that diversity can also serve as a savvy business decision for a movie like this. Data has surfaced in the last few years suggesting that diverse ensembles of performers can translate to quantifiable improvements in box office performance overseas, and Marvel's Black Panther has definitively proven that there's an appetite for diverse and representative stories at the domestic box office as well. A Wrinkle in Time is just the next step towards making that "the new normal."
If you are looking for a glimpse at the diversity and inclusivity in A Wrinkle in Time, then look no further than the film's first trailer -- which you can check out below.