Big-budget films are all about assembling an all-star team, and Disney does this better than almost anyone. For the upcoming live-action adaptation of the beloved children’s novel A Wrinkle in Time, it looks like Disney has knocked it out of the park, as seen in this first teaser trailer.
The story follows Meg Murry, a teenage girl who, alongside her brother, Charles Wallace Murry, and her classmate, Calvin O’Keefe, goes on an epic journey to find her missing father who is a scientist.
Among these four characters, the only one who is played by an actor with established clout is Meg’s father, Dr. Murry, who is being portrayed by Chris Pine.
However, the casting is clearly a strategic move on Disney’s part. The child actors in question are, in fact, actually children: Storm Reid, who plays Meg, is 14, as is Calvin’s portrayer, Levi Miller. Both have acted in major films — Reid had a small part in 12 Years a Slave, while Miller had the title role in Pan — but this is poised to be their breakout role.
It’s worth noting that, should the film do well, there’s a good chance A Wrinkle in Time could become a franchise, as author Madeleine L’Engle wrote four more books about the characters in question. So young actors are key to longevity in this case.
Despite the lack of star power among the young cast, the characters played by adults are the real pull. Guiding the kids on their journey are three unusual women — Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Their portrayers? Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and Oprah, respectively. And just this week, Entertainment Weekly exclusively released the first images from set.
If you’re keeping track, you’ll realize that not only is Meg not the stereotypical little white girl, but two of the three guides are people of color. This is due in no small part to the vision of director Ava DuVernay, who was the first black female director nominated for a Best Picture Oscar, for Selma. What’s more, add in screenwriter Jennifer Lee, and you have a major sci-fi adventure film with almost exclusively women at the helm.
This is no coincidence. DuVernay tells EW, “My whole process with this film was, what if? With these women, I wondered, could we make them women of different ages, body types, races? Could we bring in culture, bring in history in their costumes? And in the women themselves, could we just reflect a fuller breadth of femininity?”
A film surpassing a book in quality is a hard judgement to make definitively, but with powerful source material and a literal “Storm” of talent, it seems inevitable that Disney has a box office hit on their hands with A Wrinkle in Time.