If “Black Panther” demonstrated that women can dominate a highly-lucrative action movie, then “A Wrinkle in Time” takes the lesson further — showing the boys how to be gracious followers.
The sci-fi fantasy is aiming to dislodge its Disney stablemate from atop the box office when it hits US theaters on March 9, with its young female protagonist leading two boys in the adventure.
“It’s nice for a young boy, young man even, to see that it is OK to have a sensitive side of you,” Zach Galifianakis, one of the movie’s few white male actors, told a news conference in Hollywood on Sunday.
“I come from a very masculine upbringing, a lot of people do, and I love the way I was raised. But looking back, we need balance.”
Striking that balance, Ava DuVernay’s movie is the first in history to entrust a budget of more than $100 million to a female African-American director.
Galifianakis, becoming emotional, told reporters he felt “real proud” to be part of the project alongside many non-white, mainly female, actors including Oprah Winfrey, Mindy Kaling, Storm Reid and Gugu Mbatha-Raw.
Much of the movie’s messaging about gender comes in the shape of Calvin, Meg’s classmate and travel companion, a teenage boy perfectly at ease following, and instinctively trusting in, a young girl.
The character is played by Australian Levi Miller who, at the tender age of 15, called out the culture of “toxic masculinity” which he said was “rampant in society,” in one of the news conference’s more surreal moments.