Think you know who your favorite superhero is? Unless it’s already Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot and the rest of her all-star cast will have you reconsidering.
In possibly the most heartfelt, superhero action-drama to date, Warner Bros Pictures dives into the story of Wonder Woman (played by Gadot). Originally Princess Diana of the Amazons (led by Connie Nielson and Robin Wright), Wonder Woman is called into the war-ridden world of men by World War I spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), and leaves home to vanquish Aries. Along with the previously mentioned stars, director Patty Jenkins also phenomenally leads Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner, Lucy Davis, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Saïd Taghmaoui, and Eugene Brave Rock.
The Knockturnal got the chance to sit down with a panel including Gal Gadot (Diana/Wonder Woman), Patty Jenkins (Director), Chris Pine (Steve Trevor), Robin Wright (General Antiope), Connie Nielsen (Queen Hippolyta), and Danny Huston (General Erich Ludendorff) and hear their thoughts on the complexities of comic book characters, female superheroes, and what truly equals strength.
Both Gadot and Jenkins emphasized upfront that it is not Wonder Woman’s strength or beauty that defines her greatest power.
“One of the things we both (she and Gadot) agreed on is that she was everything,” began Jenkins, “She is incredibly strong, but she stands for something that is the opposite of being violence, which is love, truth, compassion and that’s why she’s magical and that’s why all of us have been so drawn to her for so long. So for her to lose any of that for any reason would have been a huge shame.”
“That (her compassion) is one of her biggest strengths,” Gadot agreed sincerely, “I remember when we first met (she and Jenkins) and…we started talking about our families and about life and I told her about my grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor and he had taught me no matter how dark it gets in life, you need to find your inner light and I think compassion was a big thing. And I think it was very important to us that this movie has a message. That it’s not necessarily…this superhero movie where the bad guys are being killed by the good guys in the end, we wanted it to have a profound message, that everyone can relate to and everyone can take home and practice it”
As one of those “bad guys” in the film, Huston is glad to hear killing him was not Gadot’s sole motivation. No stranger to playing the villain, he articulated the complexities of playing a character as dark as Ludendorf.
“…There’s a wonderful complicity and I relished as far a playing somebody of that kind of demonic nature is that he’s a true character that fought in the First World War,” explained Huston, “…but what it would have been for him to come across someone like Wonder Woman and he’s a learned man, he understood Greek mythology profoundly, but now there’s this apparition there and he finds her attractive and strange. It’s interesting, he’s never seen anything like her, but he doesn’t have that much time so he has to move on.”
Of course, though both Huston and Pine pull their weight, Wonder Woman is a film filled to the brim with badass women. How did Chris Pine take to being the love of Wonder Woman’s life and often the “damsel in distress”?
“Well look at her! It’s not a bad gig,” jokes Pine before clearing his throat and switching into a more genuine tone, “It’s a great, rare combination of qualities to have which is to be physically very formidable and compelling and magnetic…but simultaneously she has a warmth and a curiosity that’s very true and very childlike and when she smiles it makes me giggle because it’s very pure, there’s a purity to it and that softness and that beauty and that strength that’s the critical, to me, the critical combination. And she has that in spades, but she doesn’t have to try all that hard to do it so my job was very easy. I had to come to work, fall in love with her, makes her laugh as much as I could, flirt, act like a jackass and it was a lot of fun.”
“I paid him a lot of money to say that,” Gadot teased, smiling at her co-star.
Of course, Wonder Woman’s physical strength cannot be denied and it’s due to her training with the fiercest of the fierce. The Amazons.
Wright had stayed mostly silent throughout the press conference, but she did join in to talk about the difficulties of Amazon training, which she had to join two months late due to other film obligations.
“It was so hard, they had already been there two months there becoming Incredible Hulk females and then I walk in like scrawny, bony me and I’m like, ‘Dude I’m the general! Ok?” And I had four weeks to get into shape…the most challenging and we’ve (she and Nielsen) been talking about this all day is how much caloric food you have to ingest that was sickening just to put on mass quickly.”
Even though both Diana and the Amazons represent the importance of female representation, Jenkins went a step further for equality and talked about how Wonder Woman’s gender is the last thing she wants people discussing.
“…the day where you can make a movie about a hero and whatever that hero is will be secondary,” explained Jenkins passionately, “That will be the victory. What I’m a woman? Am I? Sure. Or maybe I’m in a wheelchair or I don’t know. That will be the day when it (a feminist superhero movie) will be a victory, so that is how we chose to approach this movie. I love Wonder Woman and I never thought anything about why when I was growing up, so that was our great aspiration…I’m both honored and surprised about the position we find ourselves in and we all want to bring not only a message of being a hero to the world, but a message of helping anybody else to find their voice.”
“I feel the same way,” agreed Nielsen, “…there is all this potential for it all to really be about how amazing these female superheroes are, but there’s also that other side that you also want to do which is to say, it’s an incredible superhero whether or not it’s a female. So I think 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 thing.”
Male, female, or anyone in-between, you won’t want to miss this movie showing nationwide starting June 2.