When you come off a movie that is as successful as Frozen, which earned more than a billion dollars, you can do just about whatever you want for your encore. For Jennifer Lee, who co-wrote and co-directed Disney’s massive animated hit, that means adapting Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved classic A Wrinkle in Time.
Variety reports that Lee, who also co-wrote Wreck-It Ralph, will write the screenplay for Disney. Growing up, A Wrinkle in Time was one of her favorite books, and the Disney brass were impressed by her vision for the film. Her aim reportedly places an emphasis on the “strong female-driven narrative,” but she also plans to focus on the science fiction elements and the world building that play such an important role in the book.
There will be time travel, multiple dimensions, themes of good versus evil, and more. Given the current landscape of young adult-centric fiction, and adaptations of those titles, this may be a perfect time to bring this story to movie theaters. And it has the added bonus of not only appealing to younger audiences, but there is also generation after generation of people who read and loved this book in their youth.
A Wrinkle in Time was first published in 1962, and is the first chapter of L’Engle’s “Time Quartet,” which also includes subsequent works A Wind in the Door, Many Waters, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. The story revolves around 14-year-old Meg Murray. She’s a troubled kid, but when her government scientist father, who has been working on mysterious project called the tesseract, goes missing, she has to go and track him down, and it turns out to be a rather wild ride.
People have been trying to bring A Wrinkle in Time to the big screen for quite a while at this point. Jeff Stockwell, who adapted Bridge to Terabithia, another much-loved kid’s tale, took a whack at the script back in 2010. It’s unclear whether Lee will work from that draft of the script, or start over from scratch. There was also a made-for-TV movie of Wrinkle that aired on ABC back in 2003. I also remember my sister’s elementary school class staging their own adaptation back in the early 1980s, but I doubt that had any impact or bearing on this new version.
While Lee works on translating Wrinkle from page to screen, she will also continue her day job as part of Disney Animation, working on the likes of Marvel’s Big Hero 6, which is due out November 7. It’s easy to assume that this is intended to be a live-action rendering of the book, but given Lee’s professional track, you have to wonder whether or not an animated version could be a possibility.