The film is an adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson's Pulitzer Prize-winning nonfiction book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, with DuVernay (an Oscar nominee for her 2016 documentary, 13th) also having written the screenplay. Origin stars Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor (King Richard) as the author herself, Isabel Wilkerson, as she deals with personal tragedies while writing her best-selling book. The cast also includes Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga, Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, and Blair Underwood.
"Sometimes beauty doesn't look beautiful. Sometimes beauty is a truth revealed, a lesson learned," DuVernay said in her Venice director's statement. "My experience making Origin was an exquisite, complicated journey that revealed its beauty in both good times and challenging times. This film transformed how I think about my work and my life, about love and being."
She continued, "The collaboration with an actor as gifted and passionate as Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor was an indescribable gift. The daily camaraderie of my producing partner Paul Garnes, cinematographer Matt Lloyd, and editor Spencer Averick was a source of abundant joy. All in all, the story of making this film mirrors the journey of the main character within the film. Isabel Wilkerson finds beauty in harnessing bravery, ignoring naysayers and turning trauma into triumph. Gratefully, I did too."
Following its premiere at Venice, Origin will have a gala screening at the Toronto International Film Festival before releasing in theaters in late 2023. Watch the trailer below.