Chris Pine Joins 'A Wrinkle In Time' & This Is Huge News For More Than One Reason
As the cast of Ava DuVernay's A Wrinkle in Time continues to grow, it seems more A-listers are signing on to the Disney adaptation by the day. On the heels of the announcement that Gugu Mbatha-Raw ( Beyond the Lights ) would be joining the film as Dr. Kate Murry, it's been announced that Chris Pine of Star Trek fame would be playing her husband, Dr. Alex Murry. Not only are Pine and Mbatha-Raw perfect casting, they're joining an already star-studded cast, including Mindy Kaling, Reese Witherspoon, and the one and only Oprah Winfrey. Pine's casting is just the cherry on top, proving that the cast of A Wrinkle in Time keeps getting better. But, his casting will also provide for a rare thing in film: an interracial family, placed front and center in a film that has nothing (overtly, at least) to do with race.
A Wrinkle in Time, based on the novel by Madeleine L'Engle, follows the story of Meg Murry, a young girl who goes on an intergalactic adventure in search for her father, who disappeared years before. Meg will be played by Storm Reid, a young actress who made her feature debut in 12 Years a Slave, and Winfrey, Kaling, and Witherspoon will play the mystical women who help her on her journey, Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsit, respectively. Before Pine and Mbatha-Raw's casting, A Wrinkle in Time was gearing up to be one of the most diverse children's movies of its time. But, by casting Pine and Mbatha-Raw as the heads of the Murry family, DuVernay has set up her film to as a groundbreaking step in normalizing interracial relationships onscreen.
What makes the casting of Pine and Mbatha-Raw isn't just that they make an interracial couple, it's that they have been cast in these roles in a movie that has absolutely nothing to do with their race. It's not often that interracial couples appear on screen, and when they do, it's often as side characters, or parents of a supporting character, as the case with kid's movies like A Wrinkle in Time might be. Mainstream films that feature an interracial couple at the center of their narratives are, more often than not, about that culture difference. Think Save the Last Dance, or the highly anticipated movie Loving . It's not often that an onscreen interracial couple's race doesn't contribute to the plot. And even as interracial couples have become more common in mainstream media, interracial families are less common.
It's striking to think that casting Pine and Mbatha-Raw as a married couple with children in a family film is so revolutionary. After all, both Pine and Mbatha-Raw are good actors in their own right, it would be great if the big news here was just that: good actors being cast in a big movie. (And, believe me, I am thrilled that I'll get to see them in a movie together.) But, as much as we would like for it to be totally normal for a family movie to have an interracial family at the focus, the fact is that it's not. What DuVernay is doing with A Wrinkle in Time is unique, and we should recognize it as such.
The casting of Pine and Mbatha-Raw in A Wrinkle in Time has the potential to be a turning point. And I hope it can be, if not for Hollywood itself, then at least for a young viewer who might get to see their mixed family represented onscreen for the first time.
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