Wonder Woman Director Patty Jenkins Recalls Internal War with WB


Director Patty Jenkins is not done speaking about the making of 2017’s Wonder Woman, marking her continued and admirable efforts to remain candid about her experiences as a female director. The release of Jenkins’ latest movie, Wonder Woman 1984, has put her back on the interview circuit. As more interviews with Jenkins emerge, new information about her work on Wonder Woman has also emerged. For example, in late December 2020, comments from Jenkins about the ending of Wonder Woman that Warner Bros. wanted despite hesitation from her to include it.

Now, Jenkins has revisited the topic of her production battles with Warner Bros. during an appearance on Marc Maron‘s WTF podcast (via The Playlist). The director’s conversation with Maron was illuminating, with comments offering insight into the timing of Jenkins’ hiring on Wonder Woman and even allowing for revelations like, at one point, there were approximately 30 scripts for Wonder Woman at the studio taking different approaches to the story. Jenkins recalled that, post-Monster, she was broke, looking for her next job, and drawn to Wonder Woman despite interest in a few different projects. Warner Bros. first approached her to direct a movie about the iconic Amazon in 2004 and the two parties would reconvene every few years to discuss the project.

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Image via Warner Bros.

When Jenkins was officially hired, she recalls that her working relationship with Warner Bros. was almost immediately beset with tension. She tells Maron, “They wanted to hire me like a beard; they wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision. And my ideas? They didn’t even want to read my script,” and went on to explain, “There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view. So that was definitely happening, even when I first joined Wonder Woman it was like, ‘Uhh, yeah, ok, but let’s do it this other way.’ But I was like, ‘Women don’t want to see that. Her being harsh and tough and cutting people’s heads off, that’s not what— I’m a Wonder Woman fan, that’s not what we’re looking for.’ Still, I could feel that shaky nervousness [on their part] of my point of view.”

Jenkins also shed light on why she was initially hired for Wonder Woman before leaving the project for a time, opening up room for director Michelle McClaren to get hired while Jenkins pursued Thor: The Dark World, a job that ultimately didn’t pan out. She shared, “Finally, the moment came [when Warners wanted me to make the film] and there was a moment they wanted to make a story that I wasn’t the right person for, so I [left and] said, ‘It can’t be me,’ and they hired someone else [MacClaren] for a little bit. I told them what kind of film I wanted to make. I said, ‘I don’t think this is the story you should tell with Wonder Woman,’ and I didn’t want to be the one to get in a fight about it for years.”

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During the period of time Jenkins left Wonder Woman the first time and later came back, she got a sinking feeling about Warner Bros. not having complete faith in the potential success of the movie. She told Maron, “During that period of time, there were so many scripts, I could see the writing on the wall. The was an internal war on every level about what Wonder Woman should be.”

Jenkins went on to explain how things finally smoothed over to the point that some actual progress could be made on the movie. Per Jenkins, Warner Bros. eventually came back to her after McClaren left —  “Actually, do you wanna make it your way?” — and, as the director notes, “Boom, I just made the movie.”

Wonder Woman 1984 is now available to stream on HBO Max until January 24 and in select theaters. For more, read our review of Wonder Woman 1984.

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