From Joss Whedon to David S. Goyer to Nicolas Winding Refn, filmmakers have repeatedly tried to resurrect Wonder Woman for today’s audiences. The problem? It seems no one can actually get a feature film based on the iconic DC Comics character off the ground. That’s alarming for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Hollywood has released superhero movies based on little known comic-book characters like Jonah Hex.
The new documentary “WONDER WOMEN! The Untold Story of American Superheroines” — which has screened to packed houses at South By Southwest this week — deals with how the character, first created by William Moulton Marston in 1941, has influenced women over the last seven decades. Containing interviews with Gloria Steinem, Lynda Carter and the most adorable fourth grader you’ve seen onscreen this year, “WONDER WOMEN!” makes a strong case that Wonder Woman should be reborn on the big screen.
“How many really sub-characters in terms of the male, like Thor [have been made into films]?” said director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan after the Tuesday afternoon screening in Austin. “The trilogy is Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and she has yet to get her due.”
Of course, it hasn’t been for a lack of trying — at least on the part of people like Whedon. The “Avengers” director — and the man responsible for turning Buffy the Vampire Slayer into a modern-day Wonder Woman for young girls — was interested in making a feature film about the goddess with Cobie Smulders in the lead role.
“I in no way want this to be a slam on Warner Bros., but the fact of the matter is, it was a waste of my time,” he told EW back in 2007. “We never [wanted] to make the same movie; none of us knew that.”
“Drive” director Refn hopes he has a bit more luck with the studio; Refn wants to make Wonder Woman with Christina Hendricks as star.
“She’s mature, which I think Wonder Woman has to be, because it’s a very complex character,” he told Vulture about Hendricks. “You know, the whole Wonder Woman concept is ‘What if women were more powerful than men?’ And I certainly can’t come up with a more ideal choice to play that, both consciously because she’s very smart but also because of her sensibility and her physicality, so — for me — she’s the perfect choice […] I certainly don’t know anybody of both sexes who doesn’t find her extremely attractive.”
Whether Refn gets his chance to make Wonder Woman remains to be seen, but after David E. Kelley’s very public flame-out with bringing Wonder Woman back to TV, don’t hold your breath. To Guevara-Flanagan, however, not taking another shot would be a mistake.
“If you look at them in other cultures — like Japan, where manga is really popular — boys and girls are reading [comics] equally. I think that’s because they’re written for both of them. So I guess we’ve kind of trapped ourselves here — and those particular companies have trapped themselves out of an audience.”
For more on “WONDER WOMEN!” check out the film’s website.
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