Patty Jenkins has been honest in recent “Wonder Woman 1984” interviews about what it’s like to clash with a Hollywood studio over a comic book tentpole. The director has detailed battles against Warner Bros. over the original ending to “Wonder Woman” and over the double opening of “Wonder Woman 1984,” but Jenkins was at her most candid during her appearance on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast (via The Playlist). In reflecting on the development of 2017’s “Wonder Woman,” Jenkins described an “internal war” at Warner Bros.
“They wanted to hire me like a beard; they wanted me to walk around on set as a woman, but it was their story and their vision,” Jenkins said. “And my ideas? They didn’t even want to read my script. There was such mistrust of a different way of doing things and a different point of view.”
Jenkins continued, “Even when I first joined ‘Wonder Woman’ it was like, ‘Uhh, yeah, OK, but let’s do it this other way.’ But I was like, ‘Women don’t want to see that. Her being harsh and tough and cutting people’s heads off… I’m a ‘Wonder Woman’ fan, that’s not what we’re looking for.’ Still, I could feel that shaky nervousness [on their part] of my point of view.”
The director added, “They were nervous that it wasn’t viable… They were all freaked out by all the female superhero films that had failed, the smaller ones that had failed, and also Christopher Nolan was making the ‘Dark Knight‘ thing, so I think they were just trying to figure out what they were doing with DC at that time.”
Conversations between Jenkins and Warner Bros. about developing “Wonder Woman” started in 2004, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the studio asked her to direct. Jenkins was pregnant at the time and turned the studio down, only to come back on board in 2011. Jenkins would exit the film over creative differences, jumping over to Marvel for “Thor 2” and leaving the door open for Warner Bros. to hire Michelle MacLaren for “Wonder Woman.” Additional creative differences killed both of those projects, which is when Warner Bros. decided to bring Jenkins back and let her make the “Wonder Woman” film she envisioned.
“During that period of time, there were so many scripts, I could see the writing on the wall,” Jenkins said about the years-long development of “Wonder Woman,” noting that at least 30 different screenplays were written and considered over the years. “This was an internal war on every level about what ‘Wonder Woman’ should be.”
“Wonder Woman” went on to become a cultural phenomenon in summer 2017 and launched a studio-defining franchise for Warner Bros. Jenkins’ “Wonder Woman 1984” is now playing in theaters and streaming on HBO Max, and news has already broke that she’ll be back to helm “Wonder Woman 3.”