Ever since Selma was released in 2012, Ava DuVernay has been one of the most sought after talents in the industry. The movie was nominated for several Academy Awards and was met with nearly universal critical praise. That movie may have put her on everyone's radar, but it is far from her first. DuVernay has been working in Hollywood for a long time, and that hard work is paying off in a big way, as she is about to break new ground for women in Hollywood.
According to Deadline, DuVernay's upcoming live-action adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time for Disney is set to enter production with a budget of more than $100 million. That makes her the first woman of color in history to direct a movie with a budget of $100 million or more, and only the third woman period to direct a movie with such a budget. Patty Jenkins upcoming Wonder Woman, also due out next year, had a massive budget and Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman ever to do so with K-19: The Widowmaker in 2002. DuVernay responded to these reports on her Twitter, in a very indirect, but classy way.
"Stones in the road? I'll save each one. Then one day I'll build a castle. - Fernando Pessoa"
Following the success of Selma, various studios approached Ava DuVernay with tentpole projects, but she ultimately decided to go with A Wrinkle In Time, after passing on several other blockbusters. Most notably, Marvel Studios was trying to court her to direct Black Panther, but she decided to pass on the project. The job ended up going to Creed director Ryan Coogler. Many fans were excited about the prospect of DuVernay taking on T'Challa for Marvel, but speaking with Essence last year, she explained why she passed on Black Panther.
"I'm not signing on to direct Black Panther. I think I'll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they're fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me."
The director still wound up taking on a project that is being controlled by Disney, but it is a very different kind of story. A Wrinkle In Time is based on Madeleine L'Engle's fantasy novel, which was first published in 1963. The novel tells the story of a girl who is sent to space with her brother and friend by three strange beings, after her scientist father disappears. Not only will A Wrinkle In Time allow DuVernay to work with a female protagonist, but it will also likely allow her a lot more creative freedom. Marvel Studios very much has a plan for their movies, and many directors have had issues with "creative differences" working for the studio in the past. Not only that, but there are a lot of comic book adaptations happening right now. With A Wrinkle In Time, DuVernay has a real opportunity to stand apart.
The casting process has already started for A Wrinkle In Time, as it was announced recently that Oprah Winfrey will be taking on the role of Mrs. Which in the movie. Diversity has been a big topic as of late in Hollywood, and Ava DuVernay taking on this project could mean very big things for the future. If A Wrinkle In Time turns out to be a good movie that makes good money in return, and given Disney's recent track record we can guess that it will, there is no telling what doors it could open for other filmmakers in the future. A Wrinkle In Time is currently set for a July 28, 2017 release date.
"Stones in the road? I'll save each one. Then one day I'll build a castle." - Fernando Pessoa https://t.co/8GPRKfp5hj— Ava DuVernay (@AVAETC) August 2, 2016