Kevin Feige may be the king of the superhero genre and Greg Berlanti the reigning television powerhouse, but there are few people in Hollywood working quite as hard as Ava DuVernay.
The former PR maven turned award-winning filmmaker has quickly emerged as one of the most prolific voices in Hollywood and her impact is everywhere. Following her breakthrough via the indie film circuit with Middle of Nowhere and I Will Follow, DuVernay became a household name after directing the critically acclaimed Selma. Since then, DuVernay has directed Peabody and Emmy-winning documentary 13th, created a television series, and directed A Wrinkle in Time — becoming the first African-American woman to direct a film with a domestic box office gross of $100 million.
But the filmmaker is showing no signs of slowing down…not even a tiny bit. In the last year, DuVernay has signed on to helm a limited series about the Central Park Five for Netflix, an HBO film, a DC project, and executive produce a number of television series. Plus, all this along with ARRAY, the independent distribution company the filmmaker founded back in 2012. And, of course, the documentary she’s currently keeping mum about.
So it’s safe to say that if you happen to bump into the filmmaker, maybe offer to buy her a coffee…in a supremely not creepy way because guys, she’s too busy for nonsense. To help you further keep atop of this very busy woman, here’s everything DuVernay is currently working on right now.
Role: Creator, Writer, Director, Executive Producer
DuVernay wears all the hats on Queen Sugar, which is currently in Season 3 on OWN. The series, which is based on novel of the same name by Natalie Baszile, follows three estranged siblings who are reunited after the death of their father, leaving them to run the family’s sugarcane farm. Following DuVernay’s stint directing the first two episodes of the series — also writing the pilot — Queen Sugar has become famous for exclusively hiring female directors, many of whom have launched their careers thanks to the series.
The Red Line
Role: Executive Producer
Alongside Greg Berlanti, Sarah Schechter, Caitlin Parrish, and Erica Weiss — the latter two who are also writing the series — DuVernay is producing this CBS drama, which follows the aftermath of a police shooting, where a white cop mistakenly shoot and kill a black doctor. Coming from the perspectives of three families connected to the case, the series stars ER alum Noah Wyle as the husband of the doctor killed, Shameless alum Noel Fisher as the cop, and Emayatzy Corinealdi.
According to TVLine, the series will debut in early 2019 as a mid-season series.
Central Park Five limited series
Role: Writer, Director, Executive Producer
DuVernay is set to write and direct all five episodes of the Netflix limited series, which follows the infamous 1989 case in which five teens (four Black and one Latino) were wrongfully convicted in the brutal rape of jogger in Manhattan’s Central Park. Each episode will be centered on one of the five, spanning 25 years from the time they were first implicated in the attack to when they finally reached a settlement with New York City in 2014, more than a decade after they were exonerated and their convictions were vacated. DuVernay — whose acclaimed documentary 13th, explored the flaws and abuses of the criminal justice systems that see men of color incarcerated at staggering numbers — will again examine the broken criminal justice system that saw the five teens wrongfully imprisoned.
The miniseries is set to air on Netflix in 2019.
Role: Executive Producer
Marking the first time Octavia Butler’s work is being adapted on the small screen, DuVernay and Charles D.King are set to executive produce a series based on the novel by the late science fiction writer, which is being written by Victoria Mahoney. Per Deadline, which broke the news late last summer, the series will follow “an African-American woman who works with aliens to resurrect the human race 250 years after a nuclear war.”
Currently, the series has yet to be attached to a network.
The Last Amazon
Role: Executive Producer
According to Deadline, the filmmaker will executive produce an epic mythological series about Amazon Queens, the women warriors in Greek mythology. Written by Rafe Judkins, two of the queens depicted in the series will be Antiope and Hippolyta, “portraying their loves and major battles, notably, their campaign against the Ancient Greeks.” (Yes, the same fictional family members of Diana, aka Wonder Woman.)
Battle of Versailles
Role: Director, Co-writer
Based on the non-fiction book The Battle of Versailles: The Night American Fashion Stumbled Into the Spotlight and Made History by Robin Givhan, the HBO film — which is being written by DuVernay and Michael Starrbury — follows the 1973 fashion show that launched the American fashion industry. The show, which was held at the Palace of Versailles (and served as a fundraiser for the palace) pitted five then-unknown American designers against five of France’s top designers. Using 11 African-American models in the show, the night not only served as a breakthrough for American fashion but also served as a breakthrough for racial barriers in the fashion industry.
The New Gods
DuVernay is joining the superhero universe, signing on to direct a blockbuster based on the DC comics. While not too much is known about the project, it taps into a realm of superheroes and villains, named The New Gods, who came into being after Ragnarok destroyed the old gods — aka the gods of classic mythology.
Colin Kaepernick comedy series
In early June, DuVernay revealed to Vanity Fair that she was developing a comedy series with Colin Kaepernick and A Wrinkle In Time producer Jim Whitaker, based on the professional football player and activist’s high school days. Without divulging too many details about the upcoming series, she said: “It’s Friday Night Lights meets Everybody Hates Chris.”