5:37pm PT by Katie Kilkenny
Ryan Coogler Pens Essay to "Pioneer" Ava DuVernay on 'A Wrinkle in Time' Opening Day
On the day A Wrinkle in Time opens wide in theaters nationwide, Ryan Coogler has penned an ode to friend and director Ava DuVernay that calls her a "pioneer" and "inclusion, equity and representation."
"Ava DuVernay is someone who makes the impossible look easy. It's why I feel privileged to call her my big sister. I met her in 2013, but she's one of those people who you feel like you've always known," Coogler writes to open his piece, which published Friday on ESPN.com.
The Black Panther director recalls how DuVernay, a publicist turned director, was "already one of [his] heroes" before he met her, given how much he admired her 2010 and 2012 films I Will Follow and Middle of Nowhere. Coogler also nods to her work on 2014's Selma — "she took one of the most sought-after scripts in Hollywood and turned it into the best film about Dr. Martin Luther King that anyone will ever make" — and her work on the Netflix documentary 13th, which Coogler says DuVernay completed after the death of her father.
In addition to the quality of her work, Coogler also talks about DuVernay's efforts to improve diversity on her sets, including her decision to hire all-female directors and women in important creative roles for season one of her OWN Network show Queen Sugar, something she plans to continue in season two. "Ava is a pioneer. She makes the most distant dreams and ideas a reality," Coogler writes.
Coogler then calls DuVernay's new film A Wrinkle in Time "beautiful," writing, "I watched closely from across the hall at Disney while working on Black Panther as my big sister inspired her crew with love and navigated the challenges of studio filmmaking, adapting a book that many people called unfilmable into a movie that explodes with hope, with love and with women warriors. But above all, it's a film about a little black girl with glasses — like my mom, like my wife, like my big sister Ava — who refuses to accept that her dad is lost. The main character in the film, Meg, uses her love, her hope and her kickass skills as a scientist to bring him back, and maybe she saves the universe along the way."
This isn't the first note Coogler has penned since the blockbuster release of Black Panther: He wrote a heartfelt open letter to viewers after his Marvel Studios film enjoyed a historic opening at the Presidents' Day box office.
As of Friday evening, A Wrinkle in Time was tracking for an above-$40 million debut this weekend, while Black Panther was looking to cross the $1 billion mark.
Read the full letter at ESPN.com.