How Ava DuVernay updated 'A Wrinkle in Time' for the big screen by embracing diversity

“It was Ava DuVernayed.”

That’s how Mindy Kaling explains how Madeleine L’Engle’s 1962 sci-fi novel A Wrinkle in Time was modernized for the big screen by director Ava DuVernay (Selma, 13th), from a script adaptation by Jennifer Lee and Jeff Stockwell. (Kaling, Oprah Winfrey, and Reese Witherspoon play the three Mrs.’es.)

Though the book was published more than 50 years ago, the new Disney release feels very much of-the-moment, and a lot of that comes from the decision by DuVernay, long one of Hollywood’s most vocal proponents of inclusion, to make her preteen heroine, Meg Murry (whose ethnicity is unclear in the book), biracial, as played by breakout star Storm Reid.

“Our job was just to say, ‘OK, we’re looking at this story through the lens of 2018 — what do we do to update it?’” DuVernay told us (watch above). “One of the biggest things is to make sure that all kinds of people can see themselves in Madeleine’s story, so the casting of Storm Reid was a big part of that.”

In the film, Meg’s scientist parents are played by Chris Pine and Gugu Mbatha-Raw. “I think it’s really down to Ava’s vision,” Mbatha-Raw (Belle, Beauty and the Beast) said. “I think she had a very strong idea of how she wanted to depict this film with Storm at the center, and surround her with these powerful women and this incredibly diverse cast.”

A Wrinkle in Time opens March 9.

Watch Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, and Mindy Kaling talk about having Barbie dolls modeled after them:

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