The new A Wrinkle In Time Movie movie is breaking ground with diversity both on the screen and behind the scenes. The movie premiers March 9th.
Director Ava DuVernay is the first woman of color to direct a movie with a budget over $100 million. Her film is the new A Wrinkle In Time movie, a highly anticipated adaptation of the classic children’s novel. She’s also breaking new ground with the film’s representation of diversity onscreen as well as behind the scenes.
The new film’s diverse cast includes media powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon, and comedic actress Mindy Kaling—as well as newcomer Storm Reid and actor Chris Pine. The crew behind the A Wrinkle In Time movie was equally diverse, which was a new experience for many of the stars involved.
“I don’t think you think about the consciousness with which movies are made, but for me, it was profound,” Reese Witherspoon told Entertainment Weekly. “Ava set the tone for everybody behind the scenes. It’s not just about what you see on the camera that’s so inclusive…it’s behind the scenes, too. I’ve done a lot of movies, and I’ve never seen a crew like that where everybody is represented. It looked like the world we live in.”
“It’s not just the art you make, it’s how you make the art that brings consciousness to the audience,” Witherspoon added.
The A Wrinkle In Time movie centers on a young girl named Meg Murry (played by 14-year old actress Storm Reid). After learning her astrophysicist father is being held captive on a distant planet deep in the grip of a universe-spanning evil, Meg works with her highly intelligent younger brother Charles Wallace, her new friend and fellow student Calvin O’Keefe, and three astral travelers.
Though young, actress Storm Reid was aware of the diversity on set.
“This was the first set I’ve been on with so many women,” said the 14-year-old. “I felt like everybody was represented on that set—it looked, like Miss Ava said, like the United Nations there. I hope that I’ll get to experience that again and I hope that Hollywood can normalize that, but I’m just not sure if I will have the privilege to experience that on the next set I go onto, which is unfortunate, but it may be true.”
Tellingly, just this week actress Frances McDormand won an Oscar for Best Actress and in her acceptance speech proclaimed the need for diversity on film sets. It drew mass media attention—specifically for the term she mentioned, inclusion rider, a contract clause that requires at least 50% of the cast and crew to be women or people of color.
It will remain to be seen if McDormand’s proposition will have an effect on Hollywood moving forward. Although an inclusion rider rightfully prods the film industry to include new voices on sets, it may not be such an easy resolution.
For instance, what if a director or producer already has established working relationships with competent workers who may not be diverse? It spurs the question of qualification versus representation.
There’s also the potentially contentious question: are some demographics of people more naturally drawn to this profession than others? If so, why?
The effectiveness of such an unprecedented measure will have to be surveyed in time.
A Wrinkle in Time hits theaters nationwide on March 9.