The long wait ends this Friday for Wonder Woman fans when the Amazonian superhero hits the big screen for the very first time. Directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot in the title role, Wonder Woman has been one of the most anticipated films of 2017 for more than a year now, and the global buzz has hit a fever pitch as we enter the home stretch. Featuring a stellar cast including Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen and Danny Huston, this latest film from DC's storied history is already garnering rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Last week the actors and their director met with members of the press to discuss the film and to give us all a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this epic film and share their own feelings about the most famous female superhero of all-time and what it means to finally bring her tale to the silver screen.
A Wonder-ful Journey
Gal Gadot: Working on this project has been such a phenomenal, unique and special experience. And now with some of the feedback and reactions we’ve been getting, I’m super excited and very, very happy. It’s amazing. It’s overwhelming. I feel very grateful. It’s like a dream coming true.
Patty Jenkins: It’s stunning for me. As someone who is one of those fans who has been wanting to see it for a long, long time, I’ve not been able to believe that we are the people who have been so honored to do it. It’s so exciting.
Super Power: Compassion
Patty Jenkins: One of the things that [Gal and I] connected on and both believe in is the magic of Wonder Woman. She’s incredibly strong, but she also stands for something that is opposite of being violent—which is love, truth, compassion and that’s why she’s magical. That’s why all of us have been drawn to her for so long. So for her to lose any of that would have been a huge shame.
Gal Gadot: [Compassion] is one of her biggest strengths. I remember when [Patty and I] first met, we were having dinner in this restaurant and we started to talk about our families and about life. I told her about my grandfather who was a holocaust survivor and he had taught me that no matter how dark it gets in life, you need to find your inner light. It was very important for both of us that this movie has a message. We wanted to have a profound message that everyone can relate to and everyone can take home this message and maybe practice it.
Playing Wonder Woman's Love
Chris Pine: Look at her, it’s not a bad gig [laughs]. Gal has a great, rare combination of qualities, which is to be physically very formidable and compelling and magnetic, which can sometimes come across as harsh because there’s a sharpness to beauty that’s sometimes very overwhelming. But, simultaneously, she has a warmth and a curiosity that’s very true and very childlike. When she smiles, it makes me giggle because there’s a purity to it. And, to me, that softness and that beauty and that strength is the critical combination and she has it in spades and she doesn’t have to try all that hard to do it. My job was very easy. I got to come to work, fall in love with her, make her laugh as much as I could, flirt and act like a jackass.
Gal Gadot: I paid him a lot of money to say all that [laughs].
Chris Pine: I had great fun. We shot in Italy and it was me and beautiful strong women doing their thing. Like a vacation in Italy making a film with Amazon warriors.
Connie Nielsen: I think what was really great was that our stunt team knew this was going to be interesting because we were going to come up with a way of fighting that women probably used thousands of years ago. And the fact is that with a horse and a bow-and-arrow and a sword, I think that’s why when you see those scenes it’s really spectacular. I felt bad for Robin because she was still on another set before she joined us. I think you came in like three weeks later. You worked so hard.
Robin Wright: They had been together for two months becoming incredible hulk females and I walk in scrawny and boney. I had four weeks to get into shape. The most challenging thing was how much caloric food you had to ingest to put on mass quickly. That was sickening.
But also things like trying to run 100 yards in the sand; hip-flexer pulled. It was also trying to become adept, because I was the ambidextrous fighter, riding the horse while holding the bow and switching everything over without looking [clumsy]. Thank god for those stunt doubles, right?
Gal Gadot: The most painful thing that happened to me was when we were shooting in Italy and we were shooting this fight sequence and I stepped on a sea urchin [laughs]. That was painful. Honestly we worked with such professionals that they made sure that by the time we got on the set, we were 100 percent ready. There’s no room for any question marks or mistakes. It was challenging weather-wise, but it was worth it.
Connie Nielsen: I think that both Robin [Wright] and I were just insane about the whole stunt training and getting to wield those swords, or the bow-and-arrow in Robin’s case. It was just a lot of fun to do. I just can’t believe that this was the only time in my career where I had the chance to do that. I’d just love to do that all the time. It is a lot of fun. The costumes made it super hard to do it, but they did make you feel bad-ass. I also just want to say that we’ve all given birth, so this was nothing [laughs].
Patty Jenkins: I think what’s cool is that there’s been this idea that action movies are more attractive to one gender than the other. The truth is that “action” is not any different than any other part of a story. So it was interesting to do action sequences that are inherent to a story that happened to relate to all of these women needing to fight. Although it was interesting, as a woman, to say: “We might fight a little differently than how [men] might fight.” Things like punching in the face. I was just not feeling that. It’s a different approach and then it becomes bad-ass in a whole different way. All of that was fascinating to get into a deep conversation about and then execute.
Gal Gadot: Patty was very invested, whether it was the fight sequences or the emotional or the humoristic scenes. She was always shoulder-to-shoulder with us which is unbelievably amazing.
Meet the Villains
Patty Jenkins: The main objective was to have Wonder Woman come in and meet mankind. We wanted villains but we wanted them to be of mankind because that was all part of the story. So the challenge was to see both the good and bad of mankind. Steve Trevor [played by Chris Pine] really ends up representing the good and the complexity of mankind. Doctor Poison [played by Elena Anaya] and General Ludendorff [played by Danny Huston] are great examples of the bad of mankind, but they are also examples of how that is not a conscientious choice to be a villain. Every villain has their belief system that makes perfect sense to them.
Doctor Maru is someone who has felt great damage and therefore wants the rest of the world to understand great damage. Doctor Poison is so cool historically and it’s great that she’s a female villain. And Elena Anaya is an incredibly gorgeous actor and she and Danny [Huston as General Ludendorff] created this whole world between them which was perfect for a superhero film.
Patty Jenkins: What I loved about General Ludendorff and Doctor Maru is who are these characters? In the case of General Ludendorff who had a belief system in the state of total war. He believes that any period between wars is the abnormality. He believed in war, he was comfortable in war and he was so upset when Germany lost World War I that he wrote a thesis called the “Stab You in the Back” philosophy, where he blamed all of the weak within his own country; namely the Jews. So he gave birth to the evil of World War II. It started as a defense and turned into the greatest evil we have seen in our times.
Danny Huston: Great love is not just about loving each other but it’s about loving each other’s dreams. So [Ludendorff and Maru] support each other in a way, and Ludendorff finds her attractive because she’s scarred herself for her quest to create this wonderful formula which will cause a certain amount of casualties. But it’s for the betterment of my country. So there’s commitment there and through that commitment there’s a feeling of tenderness possibly. What I relished in playing someone of that demonic nature is that he’s a true character who fought in the first world war as an important general, but what would it be like for him to come across someone like Wonder Woman?
Victory For Woman Power?
Patty Jenkins: The victory is when you can make a great movie about a hero and whatever they are is secondary. That will be the victory. I’m a woman, sure, or what if I’m in a wheelchair. What difference does it make? That will be the day that will be the victory and that’s how we chose to approach this movie. I love Wonder Woman and I never thought as to why when I was growing up, so that was our great aspiration: If we can make her a great hero and we can make a great story and we can make great Amazons, that will be the victory. I’m both honored and surprised at the position we find ourselves in. We all want to bring not only a message about being a hero to the world but also a message of helping anyone else to find their voice. So it’s with great respect and understanding that we take this on.
Gal Gadot: There is this potential for it to all be about how amazing these female superheroes are, but there is also that other side that you also want to do which is to say: This is an incredible superhero whether or not it’s a female. So you have that dichotomy happening all the time and I wouldn’t want it to be a clashing element but more of a “both/and” kind of thing.
Favorite Part of Diana
Gal Gadot: As for what I love most about Diana, I think she embodies the most wonderful qualities that I love in people. She’s warm and she’s loving. She’s very inclusive. She assumes the best out of everyone. She’s curious and she’s sassy, she’s just wonderful. But at the same time, she’s not trying to be perfect. She can be very vulnerable and she can be confused and naïve and worried. I love everything about her and I think that is because she’s not perfect, she’s whole, and interesting.
Most Important Scene
Patty Jenkins: The [comic book] lore is sprinkled all over the entire movie, but the scene that I felt the most duty to as a comic book fan myself was No Man’s Land. Just because I think that any superhero’s first step into battle in their costume is an amazing and important moment. I was inspired to have her not be in the costume [until later in the film], so you just get used to this person Diana. There are hints about a superhero, but you get to know Diana. I’ll never forget [the first] Superman movie where it’s like 67 or 68 minutes in before he shows up as Superman, and it’s so great when he finally does. You can’t believe how good it is. This is a different tone of scene, but I think that’s the moment where I want you to be tee’d up totally for the moment when she turns into Wonder Woman.
For the latest news on Wonder Woman activities, check out The Wonder Woman Universe.
Wonder Woman arrives in theaters everywhere this Friday. Get your tickets now.