As Deadline reports, the 2017 “Wonder Woman” film, announced officially by Warner Bros. and DC last month, will be directed by Michelle MacLaren — and while film people might be saying, “Who?”, television nerds know this is very, very good news.
After getting her start on “The X-Files” (only one of two women to direct an episode over the show’s nine seasons, the other one being Gillian Anderson), MacLaren has slowly built a steady career behind the camera in television, with her credits including “The Walking Dead,” “The Leftovers” and “Game of Thrones.” Most notably, she was an executive producer on “Breaking Bad” and director of several key episodes in the third, fourth and fifth seasons.
MacLaren isn’t the first TV director to cross over to superhero-ville: Alan Taylor, another “Game of Thrones” veteran, was Marvel’s pick to step in when “Thor: The Dark World” lost original director Patty Jenkins, and this spring’s “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, whose TV credits include “Arrested Development” and “Community.”
But given how female directors are drastically under-represented in the film industry, it’s not a surprise that Warner Bros./DC had to reach to the television world to find itself a director whose gender matched its star.
Since the announcement of the “Wonder Woman” stand-alone film, accompanied by a promise that the film’s director would be the same gender as star Gal Gadot, nearly every female director who’s ever directed an action film was at one time rumored to be up for the job. One of them, “Punisher: War Zone” helmer Lexi Alexander, spoke out about why she wouldn’t want the job if it were offered to her:
Imagine the weight on my shoulders. How many male superhero movies fail? So now, we finally get Wonder Woman with a female director; imagine if it fails. And you have no control over marketing, over budget. So without any control, you carry the f—ing weight of gender equality for both characters and women directors. No way.
MacLaren won’t be spared that same sort of scrutiny just because she’s directed zombies and bears, but after 12 years behind the camera, she’ll hopefully be able to rise to the challenge. We’re talking, after all, about the woman who directed this scene:
Winning over skeptical comic book fans hopefully won’t be too much of a challenge.