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It may be 2017, but in the time that it has taken for superhero films to be as popular as it is now, we are just now getting our very first female superhero standalone film. Sure there have been other attempts, but none have been as highly anticipated as Wonder Woman. Now that the film is just days away from release, fans are eagerly awaiting to see if it lives up to expectations. And based on early reviews, it certainly does. But not is it only a good movie, it paves the way for representation and progress.
1 – What It Means To Direct Wonder Woman
So both Gal Gadot, who plays the title character, and Patty Jenkins, who directed the title film, spoke about how much it meant for them to pioneer the long awaited movement of inspiring fans using a strong female superhero. “When I was a kid, I saw Superman, and it made me feel like I could be a hero one day, and it’s lasted with me ever since and is one of the reasons I’m here today,” Jenkins said. “But, it wasn’t until I saw the show of Wonder Woman on TV, which happened around the same time when I was Wonder Woman on the playground, I was everything I ever wanted to be. So, sometimes, we’ve had these moments where we’re like, ‘oh, my God, the idea that we could be a part of kids’ lives in that way is so beautiful and overwhelming,’ and we hope to give what we were given by other people.
2 – The Importance Of Being A Wonder Woman
For Gadot, the most important part of being a character as Wonder Woman wasn’t really about strength or power, but showing a strong female figure and giving her a chance to tell her own story in her own standalone film. “I could go and watch Superman or Batman, but I never had a strong female figure that really inspires me to look up to,” Gadot said. “I think that this movie is so important for all of you young girls and also for boys, as well. I’ve seen many boys dressed as Wonder Woman.” The actress says it’s the character’s universal ability to reach out to everyone that makes her so likable. “She stands for beautiful things, for love and for acceptance and compassion and truth, and these values are very important, especially nowadays,” Gadot said. “I think that, if we expose our kids to more of a goodness, then they will become greater. We’ll have a better society.”
3 – The Building Blocks Of The World Of Wonder Woman
Though Wonder Woman is a part of a bigger picture that is the DC Extended Universe, her own standalone film expands the surrounding world and its place in history. That’s because the film takes place during the events of World War I, giving it that period piece feel and separating itself from prior DCEU films. Jenkins said the process of doing all of that, finding the right cast, putting the visuals together, and making it feel real was very complicated.
Still, it was a challenge she happily accepted. But making Paradise Island feel real meant that she had to populate it with real women. “What was cool about it was I’ve grown up knowing so many incredible women and so many incredible people. So, when you try to represent that in an island made up of only women, you end up pulling together so many different interesting people,” Jenkins said. “Some are great at horse riding. Some were the greatest boxer in the world. Someone else is an incredible artisan.” For Jenkins, it was important to get a wide array of talented women, and together they trained at a boot camp to learn the exact talents that the women brought in.
Which, in effect, helped the cast members forge friendships and bonds.
Even Jenkins recognizes the potential Amazon Boot Camp has and would approve a summer camp that is inspired by what they were doing. “How fun would that be, an Amazon Boot Camp,” Jenkins laughed. “Where we celebrate all the different variety of things that it would take to be an Amazon and all the different types of people it would make up to do it, and everybody teaches each other their skills and tries to make the best of ourselves. Ah, I’m going to cry. That would be amazing.”
4 – One Big Happy Family
Gadot admits that being a part of Wonder Woman was important, and while it is a film about one of the most famous superheroes of all time, she couldn’t help but feel a sense of family on set during the production. “I’ve done big franchise movies, and they were all so great, but this one is so special for me, other than the fact that it’s for my character. I’m completely honest with you. It felt like we were one big happy family,” Gadot said.
These productions can be stressful and extensive, and a lot of the times, actors would retreat to their own trailers or hideaways, and that’s okay, but for the Wonder Woman shoot, it wasn’t anything like that at all. “Everyone was so inclusive, and it’s not only the cast, it was everyone, from the people who took care of the lighting to the people who took care of the set. Everyone was part of it,” Gadot said. It was that sense of caring that made her want to give her absolute best performance in the film.
5 – Stuntwork
As realistic as it would look for an actor to do their own stunts would be, there are times where safety is an issue and a stunt double has to step in to take the actor’s place. And although the actress did recognize some of the dangers, that didn’t stop her from doing most of her stunts.
It also did not add to the fear of her being typecast in only one role. “There’s something amazing, people keep on asking me how do you think about being typecast as Wonder Woman, and that’s all you’re going to do, action films. And I’m owning it,” Gadot said. “I really enjoy doing these movies, and I think that once you have a heart and you have a story to tell, it doesn’t matter if you have action or not, you tell the story. And portraying such a strong character and being able to move like a badass, strong, powerful woman is amazing.”
6 – Learning To Be Wonder Woman
Though Gadot may have played Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice, she didn’t know too much about the character that she was playing. So in an effort to educate her on who she was, Warner Bros sent over boxes of Wonder Woman comic books. While she didn’t grow up reading comics books, being a nerd she couldn’t help but read what she was given. “At the end of the day, there’s so many different versions of Wonder Woman throughout the comic books. And for us, it was really important to understand the essence of Diana,” Gadot said. “And once we did, we just went back to the script, and I played the character.”
“For me, she’s a loving, warm, full of compassion, good, witty. She’s curious, and she believes in herself, you know,” Gadot said. “So, once I figured that out, it was very easy for me to do whatever was written in the script.”
7 – Making A Movie For Everybody To See
Sure there are times where an R-rated movie would give the directors and characters to cut loose and be themselves, in more ways than one. However, while there are some action scenes that could make it an R-rated movie. “When I came onto this movie, it was understood that it had to be PG-13 because of the themes,” Jenkins said. But the director added that there would be no way that she would make this an R-rated movie. “Not only would I have never put out a rated R cut, I worked every day to put it back the other direction because I knew that this was a movie that they would want to see. Whether they were allowed to see it or not– and I leave it to every parent, and I really do say this – like, it’s up to every parent what to do.”
Jenkins can certainly relate to a parent’s dilemma of what movies their child can and cannot see. As a mother to an eight-year-old, the director and her husband’s bar comes from watching a film together. The director said she used the first Superman film as her bar for directing Wonder Woman, adding that it did have to address certain themes, but the spirit and message of Wonder Woman would be the forefront of the film itself. And that apparently carried over well during one of the screenings Jenkins attended. “I was so touched because their ability to understand greater themes was so wonderful, and I realized, wow, we made a movie for adults, too, but little kids can understand the thematics of love and laying down your weapons and trying to do the right thing and what Diana learns by the end of the story,” Jenkins said. “So, I wanted it to be something that they could see with their parents’ comfort and support.”
Wonder Woman is Rated PG 13
The film will be in theaters this Friday, June 2