Why Adapting A Wrinkle In Time Was Such A Challenge, According To Ava DuVernay

Mindy Kaling Mrs. Who A Wrinkle In Time

Adapting any piece of literature into a film almost always represents a daunting challenge, and that challenge becomes even more pronounced when the literature receiving the adaptation is as dense as Madeleine L'engle's A Wrinkle in Time. In fact, it sounds like bringing the book to the silver screen was no easy feat, as A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay recently opened up to CinemaBlend and explained how fan expectations and the sheer scope of the material made the film a formidable challenge. DuVernay explained:

There are a lot of pieces that are not in it. I think sometimes on Twitter, people will say 'Is such and such in there!?' I can't tweet back to them because the answer would be no. But now and then, when they say, 'is such and such in there?' Like the other day, someone said, 'Does Mrs. Whatsit say wild nights are my glory?' I said, 'Yes! She says that!' Because we took a lot out. So much. The book's very dense, and part of this is genre-hopping for me. I genre hopped from a dramatic film in Selma to a documentary in 13th to just... this is a genre jump with fantasy and an adaptation from a book that, it was a tough book to adapt. Some people call it unadaptable, but we gave it a try.

While it's not a particularly long book, A Wrinkle in Time is a very dense piece of literature that structurally isn't very similar to a movie. As a result, Ava DuVernay and her team had to be very careful about what to keep and what to keep out and always remain mindful of fan expectations. Because of this, DuVernay mostly had to keep quiet on social media when asked about story elements that had been maintained in the film -- only chiming in when she could definitively confirm something, like the iconic "wild nights" line uttered by Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) in the Murry household. Little moments like that still exist, but the movie itself doesn't feel exactly like the book.

Another thing worth highlighting is Ava DuVernay's admission of her lack of experience in the fantasy genre as a whole. She has yet to truly pigeonhole herself in one specific style of film throughout her tenure as a director, having gained notoriety with the historical drama, Selma, but then quickly jumping to the documentary world for 13th. She's not only the first black woman to helm a major film with a budget exceeding $100 million, but she's also a newcomer to the genre itself, which creates its own layer of challenge.

Want to hear it straight from Ava DuVernay herself? Then check out a clip from CinemaBlend's interview with the filmmaker, below!

Audiences will get a chance to see what Ava DuVernay opted to keep and omit from her take on A Wrinkle in Time when the film premieres in theaters on March 9. If you want to learn more about this adaptation of the classic book, then check out our full review and our review roundup to see what critics are saying about the sci-fi adventure!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.