Director Ava DuVernay courted for two major sci-fi films

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Feb 8, 2016, 4:10 PM EST

The director of Selma is being sought for two big genre projects -- after she turned down one already.

Ava DuVernay is one of the most in-demand filmmakers out there right now after her huge success with Selma (and the acclaimed Middle of Nowhere before that), so it's no surprise that she's being approached about all kinds of new movies. But what's interesting -- and a little odd -- is that she's being wooed for not one, but two major sci-fi films, both of which are different from each other and both potentially huge. So, why is that odd? More on that in a moment; let's talk about the films.

According to Deadline, the first of the two is A Wrinkle in Time, Disney's adaptation of the 1963 novel by Madeleine L'Engle that won the Newbery Medal as a distinguished contribution to children's literature. The tale is more in the science fantasy mode and revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, disappears while working on a mysterious project involving another dimension that's filled with inhabited planets. A Wrinkle in Time is the first of a series so Disney would clearly like to see the first film kick off a new franchise -- and one starring a female protagonist, no less.

The second project is Intelligent Life, an original sci-fi script by Jurassic World director Colin Trevorrow and his writing partner, Derek Connolly. The story is about a UN worker, who works in a department that's designed to represent humankind if we ever contact aliens, who falls in love with a mysterious woman who turns out to be an extraterrestrial. Trevorrow apparently lobbied for DuVernay to take the reins, since his new film The Book of Henry and his next project after that -- a little picture called Star Wars: Episode IX -- will keep him from directing Intelligent Life himself.

So, what's strange about all this? Well, DuVernay very publicly passed on directing Black Panther for Marvel, politely making it clear that while she liked the studio and the property, the film would be less an Ava DuVernay movie and more a Marvel one. So, after passing on a genre project that was not based on material she developed herself, DuVernay has now been offered two more genre movies, neither of which is based on material she developed herself.

Will she take either one and have more freedom to put her own stamp on it? That remains to be seen, but she is clearly a talented filmmaker who would bring a fresh vision to any genre film she decided to do. And yes, the sci-fi genre could use a few more women and persons of color in the mix of directors out there. Which project do you think she'd be best suited for?

(via The Playlist)