Ava DuVernay

It’s nice to be in such demand in this business that you can afford to turn down major projects like this; and Ava DuVernay most certainly is!

DreamWorks is now searching for a new director to helm its upcoming sci-fi thriller “Intelligent Life,” because Ms. DuVernay, who was previously attached to the project, has decided to opt out due to scheduling conflicts – specifically, she’s also attached to another high-profile project in Disney’s film 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.

DuVernay has decided to focus her efforts on the latter project for now, leaving DreamWorks in need of a replacement who hasn’t been announced yet. But beyond the Disney feature, the filmmaker is quite busy, with a new TV series for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network in production (“Queen Sugar” starring Rutina Wesley), and, of course, running her film distribution company ARRAY, among other attachments.


By the way, the DreamWorks project – “Intelligent Life” – has Lupita Nyong’o attached to star, so the DuVernay/Nyong’o film dream team that many of you have been excited about isn’t going to happen… at least not yet; there’s still a lot of cinema to be made, and I think it’s only a matter of time before the two of them cross paths again.

Penned by Colin Trevorrow (“Jurassic World”) and his collaborator Derek Connolly, “Intelligent Life” tells a story about a UN worker in a department designed to represent mankind if there was ever contact with aliens, who falls for an alien.

But “A Wrinkle in Time” 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. She’s in a very 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.