Power, grace, wisdom and wonder: inspiring qualities intrinsic to one of the greatest Super Heroes of all time, known the world over as Wonder Woman.
Allan Heinberg, who wrote the Wonder Woman comic for DC in 2006 and 2007, was thrilled to make his screenwriting debut in director Patty Jenkins’ (Monster, AMC’s The Killing) larger-than-life hero’s journey Wonder Woman, marking the DC Super Hero’s first-ever stand alone feature film.
Patty Jenkins directed the film from a screenplay by Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, based on characters from DC. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston.
“Wonder Woman has been my all-time favorite Super Hero since I was a first-grader watching ‘Super Friends’ on Saturday mornings in Tulsa, Oklahoma,” says Heinberg. ”To have had any part at all in bringing her story to the screen—and to have done so alongside a creative team that includes Patty Jenkins and Geoff Johns—is a lifelong dream come true.”
Heinberg makes his feature film screenwriting debut as one of the writers of Wonder Woman. His television writing and producing credits include Party of Five, Sex and the City, Gilmore Girls, The O.C., Grey’s Anatomy, Looking and Scandal. Most recently, Heinberg developed, writes, and is the showrunner of ABC and Shondaland’s The Catch, starring Mireille Enos and Peter Krause. For Marvel Comics, Heinberg created and wrote Young Avengers and its sequel, Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, with co-creator/artist Jim Cheung. For DC Comics, Heinberg co-wrote JLA: Crisis of Conscience with Geoff Johns, art by Chris Batista, and re-launched Wonder Woman with artists Terry and Rachel Dodson.
Gal Gadot stars in the title role of Wonder Woman, an epic action adventure that tells the long-awaited origin story of Diana, the only child of Themyscira, a secret island gifted to her people from the king of the gods himself, Zeus. Hailing from the world of Amazons, Diana has been preparing for combat her whole life. But to become a true warrior, she will need to carry the courage of her convictions—and an arsenal like no other—onto the most harrowing battlefield the world has ever known.
But when an American pilot crashes off their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside men in the war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
“The time is absolutely right to bring Wonder Woman to movie audiences,” says Jenkins. “Fans have been waiting a long time for this, but I believe people outside the fandom are ready for a Wonder Woman movie, too. Superheroes have played a role in many people’s lives; it’s that fantasy of ‘What would it be like if I was that powerful and that great, and I could go on that exciting journey and do heroic things?’ I’m no different. I was seven years old when I first read Superman, and it rocked my world because I felt like Superman. The character captured exactly what I believed in then and still do: that there is a part of every human being that wishes they could change the world for the better.” Director Patty Jenkins talks about Wonder Woman
Then came Wonder Woman. “I watched the TV show, and she was everything a girl could aspire to be: strong and kind, exciting and stylish, powerful and effective, and just as fierce as the boys. She’s a badass, and at the same time she stands for love, forgiveness and benevolence in a complicated world. I feel so honored to be making a movie about a Super Hero who stands for such important values.”
Producer Charles Roven explains the filmmakers’ thinking behind the time shift, noting, “Juxtaposing this commanding female character who hails from a race of equally strong independent women with the early days of the suffragette movement was really interesting.
“Secondly,” he continues, “from a visual perspective, the subtleties of the era better convey the true horrors of modern war. It was the first war where fighting went from close range in hand-to-hand combat, or if you shot somebody you had to be relatively close and face your adversary, to being fought from a distance. You could bomb some place without even knowing what your foe looked like, or who it is that you might be killing. It actually became easier to kill. We wanted that new dynamic of war to be fresh for our character, Wonder Woman, because she is used to warriors being people you looked up to, and now she’s looking at a war where there’s no such thing as a hero, really, because you can’t be a hero if you don’t know who you’re fighting.”
And that is something Wonder Woman struggles to comprehend.
Producer Zack Snyder relates, “There’s a purity to Wonder Woman that I love. She doesn’t have a broken past, she’s not seeking revenge on the people who wronged her and she isn’t coming from a dark place. She had an idyllic childhood and was taught to value life. She can be a hero purely from a place of wanting to do what’s right in the world, which is really cool, and I think both Patty and Gal found the perfect way to convey that in the movie.”
Producer Deborah Snyder felt that Jenkins completely shared that vision for the film, but, more importantly, had an unparalleled passion for the character.
“Patty’s excitement followed her all through shooting,” Snyder recalls. “She looked up to the character, and she felt a great responsibility, as did the rest of the team, to make sure she brought Wonder Woman to the screen in the most honest way possible. This is a figure who came before us and will outlast us, who fights for freedom and justice but also believes in love. I think that makes her enormously compelling.”
When a man—the first one Diana has ever seen—comes to shore, he opens her eyes to the larger world outside of her sheltered island, an undertaking he begins quite by accident, by crashing off Themyscira’s shores. Producer Richard Suckle notes, “She saves his life and, in turn, it’s Steve Trevor who teaches Diana about man’s world. They’re a great couple in the canon, but I really love the way they are in this film. There is chemistry, and the movie does allow for that to play out within this huge action adventure, and without a damsel or a dude in distress. They need each other, they learn from each other, and they’re equals.”
Jenkins adds, “From the moment they meet, there is a spark, and the way their love story unfolds is captivating and unique, especially for this kind of movie and for the time in which it’s set.”
Chris Pine, who plays Captain Steve Trevor, enjoyed the parity between them, and appreciated what Steve is able to learn from Diana as well. “I felt part of something very special, making this film, which I think is much more than a superhero movie. It’s using the global medium of film and this bold manner of storytelling to depict the actions of this very powerful woman in a violent, male-driven world. She shows my character—who has been a spy, who has seen evil up close and been fully immersed in the morally gray, toxic universe of war—that there is still room for idealism and for an earnest desire to do right by others. It’s a story that resonates and that’s very a propos to today.”
“Every superhero has his or her strong points,” Jenkins contends, “but I think the greatest thing about Wonder Woman is how good and kind and loving she is. Yet none of that negates her power; it enhances it!”
Much like her director, Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot says, “What attracted me so much to this character is that she is so many different things, and they live within her in such a beautiful way. And because this is the first time we’re telling the story of this icon on film, Patty and I had many creative conversations about her. She’s the greatest warrior in the comics, but she can also be vulnerable, sensitive, confident, and confused…everything, all at once. And she never hides her intelligence or her emotions.”
“When we first meet Diana in the story, she’s a curious little girl who’s very courageous but also sassy and a little bit naughty,” Gadot smiles. “She admires the Amazon warriors she sees all around her, and she wants to be like them, to fight. However, Diana’s mother, Queen Hippolyta, is very protective of her young daughter, and does not allow her to train. But Diana has a spark in her, and a fire in her eyes. It’s clear that she will get her way, she will get what she wants, somehow.”
But it’s Gadot, Jenkins attests, who fulfills the image of the Wonder Woman the world has been waiting for, inside and out. “Gal is literally the nicest, most beautiful, most dedicated individual you’ll ever meet. All she wanted out of this whole process was to do justice to the character. She genuinely wanted to embody the Diana everyone expects.”
And it wasn’t always easy, thanks to cold weather, extensive training, heavy action and the fact that Gadot appears in nearly every scene. “When times would get rough on the shoot, it was Gal we looked to,” Jenkins states. “She has such inner strength, such an iron temperament, that she could work through anything and always keep an upbeat attitude. She’s a pretty amazing person.”
Gadot credits her director with keeping her spirits high. “I am so lucky that Patty was directing me on this movie,” she says. “She is so funny and warm, such a brilliant and talented person, and her vision and her passion were completely in line with mine. I remember the first time we sat together, we talked about the film but we also talked about life, our families…everything was so similar. To be able to work with someone you agree with creatively about almost everything is special. And even if our ideas conflicted, we would have a fair debate and I think we not only evolved from the discussion, but the result was that we got the best we could out of the scene. I’m grateful for her guidance and her friendship.”
A feminist icon to some, an example of love and wisdom and justice to others and a brave warrior who fights right alongside the men, Wonder Woman is all this and more. When we meet her in the film, her experiences—or lack of them, really—have ignited an interest in everything around her, and a passion to help those in need. She’s highly compassionate, and able to view the world in a way that we’d all like to, with a genuine curiosity. She fights for good because she believes it.
“Diana is set apart from most comic book superheroes by her gender, but it’s her approach to justice that I believe really makes her unique,” Gadot claims. “She not only wants to rid the world of evil by taking out the bad guys, she also wants to encourage men and women to be the best human beings they can be, and she does this through love, hope and grace.”
Jenkins agrees, further stating, “If only we could all see the world the way Diana does. She sees the great darkness, but also looks beyond that to what mankind is capable of: great beauty. She also has the powers of a god, a heart filled with compassion, and we wanted to give her a rich and layered and fun story to tell that everyone can connect with. It’s just a great adventure that I hope fans—old and new—will love!”