New ‘Wrinkle In Time’ Film Sets a Milestone In Diversity

(Photo courtesy of BBC)

New ‘Wrinkle In Time Film Sets a Milestone In Diversity

By Jehn Kubiak

I distinctly remember reading Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time as a student in Ms. Starr’s sixth grade class at Barnett Elementary School and, following our completion of the book, watching the 2003 TV movie. As soon as the trailer for the new movie was released, I noticed a distinct difference––the 2018 version features many people of color: Oprah Winfrey as Mrs. Which, Storm Reid as Meg, Mindy Kaling as Mrs. Who, Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murry, Michael Peña as Red, David Oyelowo as The It, Conrad Roberts as Elegant Man, and André Holland as Principal Jenkins. That’s a significantly higher number than in the TV movie.

It’s no surprise African-American director Ava DuVernay chose a diverse cast. When asked why, DuVernay told Cinemablend she wanted to showcase the real diversity present around the world.

“I just wanted a cast that reflects the real world. We’re not doing anything that shouldn’t have already been done. The question is, why hasn’t this been done before? There’s nothing outstanding and outlandish about this cast. It’s outstanding and outlandish that there’s been casts without true reflections and inclusiveness of our daily lives,“ she said.

DuVernay poses an interesting question––why, indeed, do several casts not project the true diversity of the world? In a world filled with 7.6 billion people, surely not all the talented actors and actresses come from caucasian ethnicities. How did the original TV movie have such a lack of diversity in its cast? How in the world did I not even notice the different until the new movie premiered?

Directors must become more intentional about choosing a diverse cast. This does not mean an entirely non-white cast––just more non-white people in general. Furthermore, the body of Christ includes people of all nations. Regardless of the industry, we cannot ignore those who do not come from minority ethnicities. For instance, Revelation 7:9 demonstrates how people from many nations will all serve Christ in heaven.

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands” (NIV).

It’s no surprise this film surfaced after the #Oscarssowhite controversy, where all 20 actors nominated for lead and supporting roles were white two years in a row. As a result of backlash from the lack of diversity, this year’s Oscars featured nominees from other ethnic backgrounds. This film further reverses the whitewash trend and reminds the world about the importance of diversity.