Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong’o May Star in One of Them)

Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them)

UPDATE: 3 hours after my initial post on news that DuVernay was circulating the project, comes news, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter, that Lupita Nyong’o is “in negotiations” to star in the sci-fi film “Intelligent Life," which Ava would direct from a script by penned by Colin Trevorrow ("Jurassic World") and his collaborator Derek Connolly, which tells a story about a UN worker in a department designed to represent mankind if there was ever contact with aliens, who falls for a mystery woman who turns out to be an alien. I assume Ms. Nyong’o is "in negotiations" to play the mystery woman in the logline. This is shaping up to be a coup, and I certainly hope deals are worked out favorably on all sides, and this gets fast-tracked!

It’s one of 2 projects that DuVernay is circling – the other being a Disney adaptation of a fantasy novel. Details in my initial post below…


In Reelblack’s videotaped chat with Ava DuVernay published on this blog a couple of weeks ago, while she was at the Sundance Film Festival, she mentioned that, as soon as she’s done with "Queen Sugar" for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network, she would move onto her next feature, which, based on what she said in the video, seemed like something she already had in hand, and was ready to get rolling on (although she didn’t spill any details, of course). Some of us began speculating on what it could be – a personal, smaller, independently-financed project, like "Middle of Nowhere," or a studio feature?

Who knows!

But one thing we do know, and can start getting excited about, is that, according to a Deadline exclusive, among the many films that I’m sure she’s being courted to helm, here are 2 that have been made public: one at Disney – an 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; and second, Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment wants her for a sci-fi thriller titled "Intelligent Life," which she would direct from a script by Colin Trevorrow ("Jurassic World") and his collaborator Derek Connolly. Apparently, Trevorrow and Amblin really want her for this – a story about a UN worker in a department designed to represent mankind if there was ever contact with aliens, who falls for a mystery woman who turns out to be an alien.

Of course, the news is that both Disney and Amblin want her for each project, it all depends on whether Ms DuVernay is interested in either, or if she has something else entirely in the works that she’d prefer to tackle. So, no we wait…

But this is obviously great news, and should excite! 

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@Sandra I haven’t heard anything. I’m just guessing! The synopsis seems to reveal a bit too much. That’s what got me thinking that there is something more to the story. I believe that the UN worker might turn out to be an alien himself!


@Troublemaker – What have you heard? Do share.


Damn, all this hate for Ava. Lol

Damn, all this hate for Ava lok.

Damn, all this hate for Ava lol. Come on guys give her a chance. Spike has a film degree and look at the cornyness he’s making. The sista should just stop with her opinions on Hollywood and just make film. Something you said at sxsw. Remember ava? Ava, do some research and spike stick to documentaries.


I think there is a twist in this sci-fi movie that Lupita is in. I could share it with this blog site. Of course I am only guessing.




@ JDUB, you’ve inspired the saying "watch the dog who brings you the bone". You entered the room to chid two adults as if they were engaged in 10 toes up and ten toes down, when in fact they were engaged in respectful discourse, debate if you will, on the ways of the film director Ava DuVernay. While you were "going off" you implied any conversation or debate concerning someone "who really doesn’t give a solitary sh*t about what y’all think" is pointless. But then, low and behold, you gave YOUR opinion on the issue… and used the misguided and misused word "hating" in the process. And, if that wasn’t enough to support the opinion that you should be watched and questioned, you committed the most grievous error of voicing the unsubstantiated opinion "the same people who are on here hating are the same people who will rush out and support all the mediocre white mainstream films that come out every weekend." So JDUB, in short, what was the purpose behind your intrusion? Was your opinion more valid and made more sense than Sandras’ and Troublemakers’?


loosen up, Sandra. It’s called levity: frivolity, especially the treatment of a serious matter with humor. Pass it on.


"….thank you. I’ll take your silence as "point well taken"".<—- Very childish. Respectful heated arguments should be welcomed. It’s unfortunate that dissenting voices are described as flies, nig**s and horses. Nevertheless, I respect your voice because it reflects how passionate you are about the subject even if I disagree with your choice of words. I still stand by my original statement. She’s said things that have rubbed me many others the wrong way. This has led me to question her casting approach.


Gawdamn! All this debate over one filmmaker who really doesn’t give a solitary sh*t about what y’all think. Ava is doing her thing and I applaud her for doing her thing. Plus she’s doing stuff behind the scenes that nobody is doing in releasing black films that probably wouldn’t be out right now if she didn’t step up. And she deserves credit for that even if you don’t think she’s a good filmmaker. But the same people who are on here hating are the same people who will rush out and support all the mediocre white mainstream films that come out every weekend.


@ Sandra, thank you. I’ll take your silence as "point well taken". @ Troublemaker, I think we all clearly recognize the voices of true haters. They are not those who merely comment on their dislike of a filmmaker’s casting choice nor the filmmaker’s execution of a movie. A do or die hater generally does not support their "grievances" with any reasonable info. RE: Constructive criticism, look no further than my comment to Sandra. As noted, all "criticism" is not constructive nor helpful. Last but not least, if I went to a black restaurant and found out they were serving stale food, I would ask a few question before I continued to eat there. And NO, the same principles in which you outlined, do not apply to black filmmakers. However, lets see… if the restaurant was owned by Ava DuVernay, with the support and financial aid from those who have tasted and enjoyed her products, yet I didn’t like the soup, I’d question rather or not the cuisine was meant for me. In other words, if millions are queuing up to purchase one of her tasty delicacies, yet I didn’t like them, I wouldn’t tell the world that I disliked Ava and her pies. And I certainly wouldn’t go out of my way to tell others why they shouldn’t enjoy the restaurant nor the meaty pies that they love so much. But thank you, as you can see, you’re faulty analogy gave me the perfect vehicle to strengthen my opinion. It’s the naysayers who needs to check themselves, not Ava.


@ Narrator I hear where you’re coming from but I don’t totally agree with you. I don’t believe in constantly supporting mediocrity when it comes to some of our established filmmakers. I don’t like the fact that folks on here are branded a hater because they made a comment about a filmmaker’s casting choice or the execution of a movie. This is a blogsite that allows for comments not a fansite. If Ava or any other black filmmaker can’t take the constructive criticism then they are in the wrong business! I hate black folks that feel that we need to support them because they are black and not because they are giving us quality products. If you’re going to a black own restaurant and found out that they are serving stale food, will you continue to eat at that restaurant solely because they are black owned or would you speak out or take your money elsewhere? The same principles apply to black filmmakers.


@ Sandra, I agree, constructive criticism is allowed, and needed. However, I would not define your comment as such. Case in point, you said "I don’t know what he’s going to be, but I can tell you he’s not going to be AA". And then, obviously taking something out of its context, you referenced something negative she allegedly said about black actors. Okay, again, I would not define that comment as constructive feedback when the facts support her position of using black actors in leading roles, IN ALL HER MOVIES, regardless of what you may have read. In short, good intentions are one thing… and your intent was to give "constructive feedback" while I saw nothing but "shade". So please, tell me what I may have missed?


No IG-88, I am not a member of Array. I am merely a narrator who’s expressing what I see. I see you and the others not respecting Ava for her accomplishments. Instead, you goal appears to be throwing shade on them. That said, although you said you don’t celebrate her alleged "mediocrity" (ambiguous much?), why not take this time to celebrate the groundbreaking pioneer in her? For instance, as Troublemaker mentioned, Tyler Perry can be defined in several ways, but he, just like Ava, are breaking new ground for others to follow. That’s something to cheer about. In short, as you know, it’s very difficult for a POC, especially women, to make it in the cut-throat, shark infested waters of the film world. The powers that be has shown a tendency to shoot down any attempts by the underrepresented to reach a higher rung. Why help them by putting bullets in their guns? So CELEBRATE, don’t negate her accomplishments. That would be a better look for you, than the one you’re presenting exhibiting. Few respect men who, although unprovoked, go out of their way to bad mouth women. In fact, there’s a name given to that kind of man.


@Narrator – Constructive criticism is still allowed…Psst! Pass it on.

I expressed my congratulations as well as my apprehensions/displeasure with her casting process (based on what she’s done so far). No need to bring horses into it. She has to be able to deal with the heat that results from her words re AA and their lack of qualifications. Who is watching out for AA actors when the top directors (Spike and Ava) are knocking them down? No one is interested in making black stars. No one has the patience to seek new, fresh, black talent.


@IG-88 Yes, Ava has a lot of potential and she knows how to get publicity. I don’t celebrate mediocrity also but I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt. I did the same for Tyler Perry when he first started because I like the fact that he did it himself despite Hollywood saying no to him.


Damn, troublemaker has more respect for her than I do. Narrator must be a member of Array. I don’t celebrate mediocre directing. But what do I know, I’m just a bounty hunter.


@ BlackMan I wouldn’t be surprise if a white man or anything close to white is selected. When it comes to stories like this, white or anything close to white is always the first choice. Had this been about a murderer, a thief, a rapist or anything of that sort, you best believe a black man would be the first choice! @ CARL You stay complaining about me commenting! When folks are not treated fairly, you have to speak up. I don’t know where you get your crap from but I never said anything of that sort. Back talent should be given the same opportunities as white actors. That not to say that they won’t be critiqued. Their beautiful white women is held to high standards and our beautiful black women should be held to the same high standards too!
@QUETZALCOATLNEGRO Please don’t lump me with the rest. I respect Ava as a filmmaker because she went out and challenged herself by doing original screenplays. She could have easily depend on sequels, adapted/published material but she didn’t. I may not always agree or like her execution of the original material but I very much have respect for her.


@Troublemaker and the boys. Again everyone is so cynical that it deadens their consciousness, prejudging everything with no real knowledge of the details. Has anybody seen the script? Respect her, don’t bash, celebrate her!!!


Ni**as and flies I so despise and let me tell you why. First, would it have so hard to simply say CONGRATULATIONS Ava DuVernay? But noooooo, a horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse of course, that is, of course, unless the horse is the visitor Mr. Ed. Go right to the source and ask the horse, he’ll give you the answer that you’ll (No-Brainer, Steve, IG-88, D.C. Kirkwood and Sandra) will endorse. He’s the talking to Mr. Ed. That’s rignt, all the ni**gas and flies buzzed around Ed’s pile of sh*t as they all jumped on one of our leading female film directors. That’s to be expected of the visitor No-Brainer, he seldom if ever has anything good to say about S&A and black filmmakers. And, as Carl implied, Troublemaker is S&A’s resident complainer who’s doing what he does best. But I wonder what compelled the other gadflies to throw shade on Ava? I guess some folks are simply constitutionally incapable of singing satisfied, and thus, Ava will never do right by them.


Careful Ed…you telling the truth. You know we have to build up and over hype her because she is a black female filmmaker. Quality of the films..meh.


Ed spelled it out. Now she has a phrase named after her. Hollywood doesn’t make films with black protagonists. Didn’t paramount give you 20 mil to make Selma? What have you pitched lately to the studios Ava?


I agree with ED and D.C. Kirkwood. It’s a wait and see with Ava Duvernay. And unlike the contributors here on S&A, I’m still waiting. She isn’t very talented as a filmmaker. So, I’m waiting to see.

Ross G

I wish she would obtain the rights to Octavia Butler’s Kindred.


I guarantee TROUBLEMAKER will complain about her casting choices no matter what. Whether if Lupita has a tail or shows her real tail. According to TROUBLE, sci-fi films means black actresses must stay in their beauty lane in casting or they are selling out. idiot…


So nice to see a female director being inundated with offers for a change


I’m torn on this matter. I’ve given money to Ava’s Array , and it seems to me that her movement only benefits her company by building her film library. But, I don’t think it solves any real problems with black film distribution or inclusion. She’s done a great job of promoting herself by starting racial debates on the topic of inclusion, but it only benefits her career. I’m sorry but most of the films she makes and acquires are subpar besides Selma and Middle Of Nowhere which weren’t great either. So, I’m happy for the sistah, but she’s going to have to start making some real changes in realm of inclusion, distribution, etc. before I get too happy about HER success. And putting some films in museums, and obscure locations and dumping them on Netflix after a couple of months is not distribution.


"…the other being a Disney adaptation of a fantasy novel."
With all due respect on your most recent update on this — A Wrinkle in Time isn’t just a generic "fantasy novel." It’s a timeless classic with all sort of spiritual and metaphysical themes, unsurprising given Madeleine L’Engel’s stature in the literary/theological communities. Disney doing this would hollow all this out of course, but that’s a given.


You know exactly who she will cast. The great and debonair Common. Can’t wait for the stellar reviews.

D.C. Kirkwood

I agree with @Sandra. I’m going to hold out to see how she casts this as well. I’m glad to see a sista directing but I haven’t been impressed with her work up until this point. JMO


@Blackman – I don’t know what he’s going to be, but I can tell you he’s not going to be AA. You all recall Ava’s comments on AA actors.


You know the man is going to be white, right? Can’t have a film this big with a black director and both leads black. That’s Hollywood.


@ Marcus B I agree. Preferably Idris Elba in the lead and Lupita as his love interes! I hope Ava makes sure that Lupita is not an E.T. Gremlins looking alien with a tail. You know how Hollywood is! Ava will get my congrats when I see the final casting choices!

Marcus B Like

Has long as she has final cut on both projects and can hire people of color in the primary roles in the ensemble she should be good to go.


I am happy for AV, but her casting choices for lead roles have so far been suspect to me.


It is being reported that Lupita is being circled for the Trevorrow project. I am quite excited .

Dankwa Brooks

Great story BROWN BOMBER and signifies even more the disparity in opportunities. Thanks for sharing that.

brown bomber

This is great news. It should be noted that Colin Trevorrow is her colleague from Sundance, who when she told the story of how after year at Sundance, they both told each other they had a feature film to direct, coming out of the whole experience. She said, she had ‘Selma’ and he turned to her and said he had ‘Jurassic World’ which highlighted the differences in their respective opportunities. So Colin has definitely being looking out for his colleague and friend, now. And that’s how it should work in Hollywood! :-)

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