By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act

Following the February 8th announcement that Ava DuVernay was offered (that we know of, at least) 2 high profile studio projects (one from Disney and the other from DreamWorks), comes news that the filmmaker has officially inked a deal to take on the Disney project first. She still has an offer on the table to direct the DreamWorks project as well, but, apparently that’s still up in the air. But the Disney project is a done deal.

That film is an adaptation of “A Wrinkle In Time,” a science/fantasy novel by Madeleine L’Engle, first published in 1963, which revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract.

Courtesy of Amazon, an official description of the book: “Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time. Young people who have trouble finding their place in the world will connect with the “misfit” characters in this provocative story. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep into their characters to find answers. A classic since 1962, Madeleine L’Engle’s ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg’s shattering yet ultimately freeing discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the power of good over evil.”

Reads like something that both children and parents will appreciate, even if for different reasons. But this represents yet another significant leap for Ms DuVernay, who went from the roughly $50,000 “I Will Follow,” to the $200,000 “Middle of Nowhere,” to the $20 million “Selma,” and now what I can only assume will be a significantly higher budget for “A Wrinkle in Time,” given its fantastical elements. I believe it’s called progress! She’s in a good place right now, especially for a filmmaker who also happens to be black and a woman, given Hollywood’s history in terms of opportunities for black women filmmakers. How many studio-backed feature films (especially at this level) directed by black women filmmakers can you name?

No word yet on casting for “A Wrinkle in Time.”

By the way, “A Wrinkle in Time” is the first in a trilogy of novels by author Madeleine L’Engle, so this could be just the first of 3 films in a franchise. If you’ve read the novel(s), I’d love to read your reactions. If you’d like to own a copy, click here.

Deadline was first to report the news of the Disney deal.


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