‘Origin’ First Look: Aunjanue Ellis Stars In Ava DuVernay’s New Film Competing At Venice

Whether through narrative features such as Selma and Middle of Nowhere, or through documentaries as with Colin in Black & White, or television series such as When They See Us, Ava DuVernay has explored race from many different angles. It’s one of the things I respect about her most. The issue or race relations in this country is complicated and multi-faceted, and DuVernay has given proper respect to that fact. And now she’s doing it again by adapting one of the most important recent books to tackle the subject, Isabel Wilkerson‘s 2020 bestseller Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents.

But Origin will not be your ordinary adaptation, which would probably look a lot like a documentary. Instead, DuVernay has penned a story that takes an intimate approach seen through the life of Wilkerson, played by recent Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis.

In Ellis’ first leading role, she plays Isabel Wilkerson, a writer as she travels around the world grieving the loss of a loved one while exploring the topic of race as part of a caste system. A caste system is basically the social categorization of people through hierarchy, race, ethnicity, gender, and more.

Also in the cast are Jon Bernthal, Vera Farmiga, Niecy Nash-Betts, Audra McDonald, Jasmine Cephas Jones, and Nick Offerman

Vanity Fair has revealed our first look at Origin before the film’s world premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, where DuVernay will be the first African-American filmmaker to premiere their film in competition for the prestigious Golden Lion.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.