WONDER WOMAN, one of D.C. Comics most beloved superheroes, is having extreme labor pains trying to deliver to the Silver Screen. The difficulty is due, in part to sexism. Some brilliant movie pundits claimed the WONDER WOMAN project simply must be directed by a woman. Not to have a woman director, they averred, would be an example of the rampant sexism prevailing in Hollywood. This rationale is absurd. It’s the same ideology claiming any confrontation between a white police officer and a black suspect must be racism because the white officer acts out of prejudice and the black suspect is always innocent.
Just this past week, Director Michelle MacLaren walked away from WONDER WOMAN. The reason for MacLaren’s departure was the ever inclusive “creative differences”. This generally means the director wants to do something with the character in dire contrast to established norms and traits.
A writer for The Hollywood Reporter has already postulated MacLaren’s exodus proves “women are not welcome in the high-stakes world of big-ticket comics-inspired movies”. Wow, talk about beating an agenda like a dead horse. MacLaren is a successful television show-runner and director. WONDER WOMAN would have been her film directorial debut.
But this story is more sinister and hints of myriad backdoor politics. The entire scenario dates back to the original THOR movie.
THOR, besides starring Chris Hemsworth, starred Natalie Portman. When the film was first released, many wondered how and why Portman, whose career had taken a serious turn, chose to be involved. Portman is close and tight with Patti Jenkins, a mediocre film director. Portman agreed to star in THOR and its sequel, if the studio would consider Jenkins as director for THOR 2. Marvel agreed, and when THOR 2 was announced, Jenkins was named as director. A multitude of PR was released promoting the project and the studio as quite progressive. Jenkins was to be the first female director of a super hero movie.
Jenkins never made it. Marvel canned her. The reason, of course, was “creative differences”. Actually, Jenkins turned THOR 2 into a Nicholas Sparks type film, with strong female characters and secondary superheroes. Marvel wanted none of it and replaced Jenkins with Alan Taylor and changed THOR 2 to [Thor: The Dark World](tag:206462). Rather than admit she had a great chance and blew it, Jenkins released statements that spawned the attitude of women directors not being wanted in the Marvel world. The sexist attitude was too tempting for an all too complacent media.
So, MacLaren was given Wonder Woman and a similar event occurred. MacLaren was not only director of the film, but was also heavily involved with the scripting. Officials from D.C. didn’t like the direction the script was taking, asked MacLaren to bring the character more in line with the comics. When she refused, she was gone. But the plot thickens. Guess who the studio is courting for its new director? Patti Jenkins.
This whole idea a woman must direct WONDER WOMAN is ludicrous. There are many fine superhero directors; Jon Favreau is one of the best, who could handle this project with aplomb. Having a woman director will not guarantee a hit. WONDER WOMAN can be brought to the screen without a woman director and still be a good movie. The entire concept is media propaganda.
WONDER WOMAN’s planned release in 2017 is already in jeopardy with MacLaren’s departure. If Jenkins proves incompetent again, the Amazon princess may never make celluloid. Somewhere, Lynda Carter is laughing.