This is great news on a variety of fronts. First, we know that this will be a big-budget film, since it’s a superhero movie scheduled for a summer release. I’m betting this will, in fact, be the highest-budgeted live-action film ever directed by a woman. (I will be watching and will note if this film about a woman directed by a woman has a lower budget that comparable movies about male superheroes.) It’s also important because a successful female TV director has gotten the bump up to features.
I am pleased that a woman will take on Wonder Woman because this character in particular is fraught with issues regarding her appearance. Every time we have seen Wonder Woman in public on our screens, she has always been sexualized. Her costume — that bustier, especially — makes me cringe. And based on the pictures of Gal Gadot, who will play the role and appear in an earlier film, Batman v Superman, in 2016 as the character, it looks as if the actress will wear once more the typical Wonder Woman costume of a bustier-type bodysuit and no pants or even a skirt. I want to remind the people in charge of her costume that there will be lots of girls and boys looking at this film and this character, and she needs to not be a sexualized cliche.
While I am thrilled that this superhero movie-directing glass ceiling has been shattered, this news should be seen as a beginning, not an end. We can’t be satisfied with this. We need to push for women directing big-budgeted movies with male superheroes. We can’t only let women direct movies about women, because I don’t see there being any concerns about men directing movies about women.
We also need to stop referring to directing in a gendered way. As my friends at the Media, Diversity, and Social Change Initiative initiative at USC tweeted when the rumors began, MacLaren was viewed as a potential director because she has directed “muscular” shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. That term was again reported in the Hollywood Reporter piece yesterday with the announcement.
This is a high-stakes gig. Is is one the highest-profile, if not THE highest-profile, gig a woman director has ever gotten. With this comes a lot of pressure and expectations. For me, I am not worried about MacLaren’s competence. She’s proved herself over and over again. This is why it is so important that we have many women directing high-profile, big-budget movies regularly, so that no matter what happens, women will keep on getting more opportunities to direct.
So while I have reservations about the possible character design, it’s good that Wonder Woman has gotten a woman director. Wonder Woman has a lot of name recognition. No one is going to need to be convinced to see a movie about a superheroine they don’t know. It’s gonna have a big marketing campaign, and people are going to see it. I’m betting it will be family-friendly, and it will attract moms and dads and their kids. It will be great for boys to see a strong female role model on the big screen, and it will be great for girls to have a role model to look up to. I hope the product people are already on the case, because I will be psyched to buy my nephews Wonder Woman t-shirts that they can wear, along with their Batman and Star Wars tees.
And if anyone is listening: Please don’t make any pink products, and make sure she has some clothes on.