Summer Movie Preview: Jennifer Yuh Nelson breaks new ground

This image released by 20th Century Fox shows Mandy Moore, left, and Amandla Stenberg in a scene from, "The Darkest Minds." The film, directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, is expected in theaters on August 3. (Daniel McFadden/20th Century Fox via AP)

Summer Movie Preview: Jennifer Yuh Nelson breaks new ground

LOS ANGELES — "Kung Fu Panda 2" director Jennifer Yuh Nelson was the first woman to solo direct an animated feature for a major Hollywood studio and the first woman of color to direct a film with a budget of $150 million. While she has broken a number of glass ceilings, she insists she never realizes it until someone tells her.

"I go, oh, really? That's cool. I don't know. I don't think about it. I just enjoy doing the work," Nelson says.

Now, Nelson is taking another big leap, into live-action with the adaptation of author Alexandra Bracken's young adult novel "The Darkest Minds" for 20th Century Fox, which comes out on Aug. 3. It's a transition that few in the industry make, from animation to live-action. But Nelson had always dreamed of working with the tangible.

The story imagines a world where teenagers develop mystical abilities, and fearful adults imprison them. Amandla Stenberg plays the lead, Ruby, who helps form a resistance group. Mandy Moore, Gwendoline Christie and Bradley Whitford also star.

"The film itself is not going for the same dystopian young adult ride that people have gotten used to," Nelson says. "There is sort of an optimistic, empowering, friendship-driven story about kids who are facing some really dire and dark situations."

While Nelson might not rest on her laurels, she will occasionally stop to reflect on what she's been able to accomplish when she gets letters from students in film school or art school who admire her. They're often women.

"It's true there aren't that many people they can point to and say that person looks like me or has the same experience as me or want the same things as me and are doing what I want to do. They tell me it's encouraging to them to realize it," she says. "And that makes me feel really good."

___

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr

Related News

2 Fox News execs named co-presidents, will report to Murdoch

Aug 12, 2016

Rupert Murdoch moves to set up a new management structure at Fox News following Roger Ailes' departure amid sexual harassment allegations

Is NBC's prime-time Olympics due for a change?

Aug 12, 2016

For all the changes media and even Olympics coverage, NBC sticks to a time-honored formula for its prime-time broadcast

After storm halts tribute, A-Rod doubles in Yanks' finale

Aug 13, 2016

His pregame tribute ended by a storm, Alex Rodriguez began his final game with the New York Yankees by hitting a tying first-inning double

Hollywood in five is your 5 minutes read of Hollywood news with continual updated coverage.

Contact us: sales@hollywoodinfive.com