Talk about the DC superheroes' ties that bind. When we first met Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman, it was through her brief but standout appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It was also in the Zack Snyder film that we first saw the black and white photograph of the Amazon Princess posing alongside her World War I comrades — including a clearly recognizable Chris Pine (as airman Steve Trevor) — that Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne found in a flash drive while trying to uncover her identity.
How that photograph — which is also briefly seen at the start of Wonder Woman — was shot for Batman v. Superman, and then amazingly recreated in a key scene in director Patty Jenkins’s blockbuster, is rather fascinating.
Building The Wonder Woman Story Around This Photo
In order to get the photograph for Batman v Superman, Jenkins had to shoot it first — a good week before primary production for Wonder Woman began in November 2015 (and a mere four months before BvS premiered in theaters).
In the midst of half-built sets, the five key actors involved —Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Ewen Bremner (Charlie), Saïd Taghmaoui (Sameer) and Eugene Brave Rock (The Chief) — put on their costumes for the first time and posed for a photo as part of their very first "scene" on set.
A few months later, when it is time to shoot the scenes where Diana and her fellow soldiers cross No Man's Land to liberate a Belgian village from the Germans (and end up posing for a town photographer), Jenkins had to recreate the photo as close as possible to how to appears in Zach Snyder’s film.
In an interview with Empire, Wonder Woman producer Deborah Snyder recalls how the idea of including the taking of the photograph into the film came to be:
"When we first started talking about the project, we thought the photograph was a really interesting idea. What was the journey in getting to this moment? We kind of built the story around this photo!"
Chris Pine, whom Jenkins regards as "one of my favorite people" in Empire, chirps in:
"We're basically a ragtag bunch of ne'er-do-wells. Each [member of the squad] gets their own storyline. Ewen and Saïd especially add humor. They're a great bunch of guys."
The B&W Photo: First Thing Filmed For Wonder Woman
Scottish actor Ewen Bremner, who plays expert marksman/drunken lout Charlie, remembers the special shoot all too well. He told Empire:
"It was shot on the backlot at Leavesden (Studios in London), the first thing filmed for the movie. We had to hold our positions for an uncommonly long time without moving, because it was an authentic daguerrotype box camera from the period, with a very long exposure time."
While speaking with Yahoo Movies to promote his other 2017 movie, T2: Trainspotting, Bremner also revealed how much a challenge it was for Jenkins and her crew to recreate the original photograph. He recalls:
"It meant that when we eventually got around to shooting the scene that the [photograph] is from, we had to really painstakingly recreate it. Because we [took the photo] against a half-built set, in a way sets were still being built at that point. So by the time we came around to filming that scene, probably around five months later, the sets were much more developed. So we had to find a way to recreate the exact same image after half a year had gone by.
Canadian actor and stuntman Eugene Brave Rock, who plays The Chief, also remembers the first day of filming fondly. He tells Empire:
"It was a really great day, coming together in costume for the first time, about a week before 'Wonder Woman' began in earnest. The necklace I’m wearing is my own personal choker. And I found a photo from the early 1900s of a Native American holding a rifle, with a studded design on the stock. I was able to incorporate that into my gun."
With the critically acclaimed Wonder Woman grossing $713.9 million globally, and single-handedly pushing the DC Extended Universe over $3 billion in the worldwide box office, it would appear that having the utmost attention to details during filming is totally worth it.
Re-watch the scene where Diana Prince views the treasured 1918 photograph in Wonder Woman in the trailer below:
Wonder Woman will unleash her powers once again in Justice League arriving in theaters on November 17, 2017.
What is your favorite moment in Wonder Woman? Let us know in the comments below!
(Sources: Empire, slashfilm.com)