A Wrinkle in Time's young star: 'Representation is everything'
Ava DuVernay's big-budget fantasy stars Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and Storm Reid
Its diverse, all-star cast, inclusive message and significant $100 million US budget — the largest ever for a female African-American director — are some of the reasons A Wrinkle In Time is being labelled a potential game-changer in Hollywood.
But one of its stars, Oprah Winfrey, said there's a much simpler lesson as well.
"It lets other people know that it's possible," she said at the film's red carpet premiere in Los Angeles Monday, when asked about the theme of female friendship.
A Wrinkle in Time, directed by Selma and 13th filmmaker Ava DuVernay, is based on the 1962 children's science fiction classic by Madeleine L'Engle about a girl — played by Storm Reid — searching for a father who went missing after the discovery of a new planet.
Her journey is guided by three women travellers played by Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling.
"To be on such a set that looked like the United Nations ... it was really great so I'm glad I got to experience that," Reid told CBC News.
Chris Pine, Michael Pena, and Zach Galifianakis also star in the film adapted by Frozen writer Jennifer Lee.
"Because it's a female-driven story, doesn't mean it's just for girls," said Lee. "The journey itself is what we all relate to and women can pull that together too."
While it's unclear how A Wrinkle In Time will fare with audiences until it's officially released in the U.S. and Canada on March 9, the highly-anticipated movie is providing a much-needed antidote to criticisms in Hollywood about the lack of diversity and women in major roles.
A recent study from San Diego State University reported that only 24 per cent of lead roles in Hollywood's 100 top-grossing films of 2017 belonged to women. That number represented a drop compared to the year before.
A Wrinkle In Time's visual impact coupled with its female-led, multicultural cast puts it in good stead to follow the release of Black Panther. The Marvel superhero film has been receiving praise from around the world for its positive focus on African culture and strong roles for women.
"Representation is everything and then to be represented in the right way, is absolutely incredible," said Reid.