Wonder Woman has been a cultural icon for over 75 years. She’s appeared in comics, cartoons and became a household name with the hugely successful 70’s TV show. This summer actress Gal Gadot takes on the role in a highly anticipated blockbuster. We met up with director Patty Jenkins to talk about bringing Wonder Woman to the big screen.
Why do you think it’s taken 75 years for Wonder Woman to star in her own movie?
I think honestly the genre became synonymous with young men, and there might have been concern that there wouldn’t be interest in a female lead. It’s taken years for that to sort itself out. The interesting thing is there’s no convincing to do, she has a huge following. For many years I was asking the question you’re asking now, why is no one making this movie? Look at Halloween, there’s lots of people dressed as Wonder Woman every year, she’s got a huge fan-base. So many superheroes have come and gone but Wonder Woman remains and she’s still one of the key, pivotal, most important ones.
Do you think your film will help prove that female led superhero films are worth making?
Certainly, if it succeeds it will make an impact. I hope that the film is super successful and will become something people will believe in. I’m not the only person fighting that battle, movies like ‘Hunger Games’ have already made a huge impact, they opened the door for us by saying ‘look there are films with female leads that aren’t just a chick’s film’.
What was your cinematic inspiration for the movie?
My inspiration was to make a classic film, I looked at the cinematic landscape of superhero films, many of which I love and asked ‘what am I not seeing right now’? What made me passionate about comic movies in the first place was Christopher Reeve’s Superman movie, it’s classic superhero storytelling. Nobody is quite doing very sincere origin stories, really putting the time into the character’s story, so now felt like the right time to do it. Her story is not overly complicated with sci-fi or gadgets, it’s a period, character based story with ‘Superman I’, ‘Casablanca’, and ‘Indiana Jones’ being our touchstones.
Could you talk about Gal Gadot as Diana? for many her appearance was the standout in ‘Batman V Superman’ I can’t say enough good things about her, she really is an incredible Wonder Woman, she exudes strength of character, and kindness, and warmth and charm, all of those things come so naturally to her. That doesn’t always happen with superheroes, some actors who get cast as superheroes aren’t true to these characters but when they are we never forget it.Like Christopher Reeve was Superman and people will stay focused on that forever after. I think we’re lucky that Gal Gadot is like that to Wonder Woman, not unlike Lynda Carter. She’s an exciting character and Gal is somebody playing it in a non-flat way, she brings a lot of charm and warmth to the role. Whereas if she was played by a harder person with something more to prove it would feel flatter, but Gal surprises you all the time.
Many will fondly remember the SLIGHTLY CAMP TV SHOW FROM THE 1970s. Did you have any opportunities to pay homage to that version of the character? Little bits, I feel like we’re paying homage to it all over the place in a big spiritual way. It’s definitely what inspired me and started my love affair with the character. More than anything I think we’re homaging the spirit of that Wonder Woman. I think her optimism and positivity and warmth came from that show in a clear way.I’ll be curious to see if people notice the homages, because some are so subtle. Like how do you show the spin without doing the seventies version of it?
The original Wonder Woman outfit with the stars and satin tights is so iconic, was it a challenge to update it into this fierce modern armour?
Zack Snyder did most of the heavy lifting on designing the costume and I liked what he did, it echoes traditional armour in a way that makes sense for where she is from and how that armour would work. The lion cloth was not unusual for Ancient Greece or Roman culture, so you’re coming from something that makes more sense than just a body suit.The sport of how superheroes unveil their costume is pretty complicated in every superhero movie, lots of them have pretty inexplicable ways of getting into their suits. We could never have that conversation as to how she puts those boots on, that could take someone up to 45 minutes. *laughs*
It was always going to be a challenge to take something beloved like Linda Carter’s ‘Wonder Woman’ outfit from the past and update it but I think as long as you stay true to what that thing is, it has to change, time has to move on. Even the fighting style (had to change), the effects used in the 70’s were so different, we had to update everything. I never went out of my way to try make her more fierce, in fact the opposite, I think modern fighting has gotten so violent, Wonder Woman wouldn’t do that. There were fight-moves pitched to me that were too violent in a masculine way and I don’t think she’d feel comfortable punching someone in the face, I don’t think she’s that kind of person.