Oprah Wasn't The First "Mrs." That Ava DuVernay Cast In A Wrinkle In Time

Photo: Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images.

Ava DuVernay's adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time hits theaters March 9. An epic film adaptation of this classic children's book is long overdue and eagerly anticipated. The film's cast is as beloved as the book, including Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, and Reese Witherspoon as the guiding "Mrs." characters. You may be surprised to learn that Oprah was not the first person DuVernay cast in the star-studded lineup.

In fact, the first person DuVernay thought to cast in the role of one of the three celestial guides known as the "Mrs." was Mindy Kaling. In an interview launching this year's "What She Said" conversation series at the W Hotel, DuVernay reminded the audience of how much Kaling has done in her career thus far. Most of us were likely first introduced to the actress when she played Kelly Kapoor on The Office.

Kelly was underrated and I always wished she was on the show more. Aside from making us laugh in front of the camera, Kaling was a writer, executive producer, and occasional director for the hit show throughout most of the time it was on the air. "I don't think people really give Mindy credit," DuVernay shared according to the Los Angeles Times. "She's a woman of color with a show with her name on it. … She represents someone you never see in television, and on film, she is so important to the culture in that way."

The director knew from the beginning that she wanted to bring together a diverse cast of characters to play the "Mrs." in A Wrinkle In Time. Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon make up the other two in the trio. "I wanted the Mrs. of all different shapes, sizes, ages, cultures, races," DuVernay explained in the interview."I knew I wanted a black one and a white one and someone who was not either." In a time where strong women, diversity, and inclusion are at the forefront of our conversations, this movie couldn't have come at a better time.

DuVernay spoke highly of Winfrey and Witherspoon. Left without words to describe Winfrey, she portrayed her as someone easy to be around. "Sometimes I sit with her and forget that she is a billionaire two times over… I won't even think about that – until the butler walks in," she added. She described Witherspoon as "a force" for wanting more from Hollywood than to be merely a pretty face in front of the camera and choosing to use her influence to champion other women in the industry. Disney asked DuVernay to take the project on, making her the first woman of color to direct a film with a budget over $100 million.

If the "Mrs." are meant to guide and inspire the story's young protagonist, Meg Murry, then it seems like DuVernay did a brilliant job casting women who are equally inspiring off camera.

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