My interest in superhero films stems back to the days when my father and I would watch Christopher Reeve double as Clark Kent and Superman in the 1978 film. Even as a young girl, the complexity of these characters and the worlds was compelling. Watching extraordinary superhuman feats was exciting and I appreciated the filmmakers’ ability to weave in humanity in the midst of explosive action. Once I found myself hooked on Superman and his fate, I quickly gravitated towards other superheroes including Wonder Woman, who was played by Lynda Carter in the TV series.
Wonder Woman has origins in Greek Mythology and as the princess of the Amazons, she was trained to be an unconquerable warrior. In Warner Bros. Pictures live-action, origin film, Gal Gadot stars as Wonder Woman/Diana and we learn how she begins to embrace who she really is. When an American pilot crashes on the shores of her sheltered island, the two leave to stop a major conflict in the outside world. As she fights along man, Diana discovers her full powers and her true identity.
Recently, I had an opportunity to speak with Gal Gadot and and director Patty Jenkins. Gal Gadot shared her perspective on portraying a strong female character and what it took to become Wonder Woman. Jenkins talked about how one of the most important scenes in the film was created and why she believes now is the right time for families to see Wonder Woman on-screen.
Wonder Woman as a Strong Female Role Model
Even before I sat down to watch the film, I expected that Wonder Woman would be strong and fierce. With so many superhero films portraying males, I appreciated the way this film represented women. It was important “that we show a strong female figure and that we know her story” remarks Gal Gadot. The Israeli actress “never had a strong female figure that inspired her to look up to. “I think what is beautiful about this character is that [she is] very universal. Everyone can find something that he likes for himself about the character. And she stands for beautiful things, for love and acceptance and compassion and truth and these values are very important, especially now.” Director Patty Jenkins saw Superman as a child, and “it made me feel like I could be a hero one day.” And 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.”
Wonder Woman “Boot Camp”
One of the most visually impressive scenes in the film occurs in the beginning, where we witness a race of warrior women created by the gods of Mount Olympus training on the island of Themyscira. According to Jenkins, the scene was complicated and “it was a visual struggle to find all of the elements to put together” so that it felt real.” Jenkins started by finding incredible women. “Some are great at horse riding. Someone was the greatest boxer in the world. Someone else is an incredible artisan.” Jenkins then took this broad variety of people and established a world where they are all one. The group then trained at a boot camp where they worked together to learn skills like how to fight and ride a horse.
On Becoming Wonder Woman
When Gadot was first cast by as Wonder Woman, DC sent her boxes filled with comic books. While the actress admits that she was not into comics as a child, she enjoys reading and spent time understanding the different versions of Wonder Woman portrayed in those comic books. “It was really important to understand the essence of Diana.” Gadot came away with an understanding of Wonder Woman…that she iss “loving, warm, full of compassion, good, witty, curious and believes in herself.”
As far as the physical aspect of preparing for her role as Wonder Woman, Gadot humbly admits that “she had help.” However, according to Jenkins, “[there are] very few shots that you can put another person in, so the truth is that [she had] to do so much.” While Gadot did much of her own stunts, she left the “crazy, dangerous things” to the stunt girls.
Can I Take My Kids to See Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman is rated PG-13 and Jenkins understood that it had to be rated as such because of the themes of war and adulthood portrayed. “I worked every day to put it back in the other direction because I knew that this was a movie that they [kids] would want to see.” Jenkins took her queue from Superman I, which included many of the same themes present in Wonder Woman. “I was comfortable with everything because the spirit of it was not assaulting or shocking.” Jenkins and her team worked hard to keep that spirit of telling the story understanding that those themes were part of it.
Before Wonder Woman was released in theaters, Jenkins attended a screening where young children were present. She spoke to some of the girls after the screening and was touched by “their ability to understand greater themes…of love and laying down your weapons and trying to do the right thing.” As a parent, my best advice would be to watch the film first, take into consideration the age and maturity of your child, and make a decision that you are comfortable with.
Wonder Woman is in theaters now. Prepare for battle. Get your #WonderWoman tickets today.
Show your warrior with the Wonder Woman gauntlet creator