Reel Women: Five Female Directors Who Should Direct the ‘Wonder Woman’ Movie
Yesterday, Warner Bros. released its official upcoming release schedule, including -- surprise! -- a 'Wonder Woman' movie scheduled for 2017, putting them ahead of Marvel, who still haven't announced their own solo female superhero film. And while we know the origin of Wonder Woman in 'Batman v Superman' will be the less compelling New 52 version from the comics, there's still hope that WB can make a really interesting and fantastic 'Wonder Woman' film by doing the right thing: hiring women to make this movie.
We don't need a 'Wonder Woman' film made by men. We don't need the story of a female superhero told from the male perspective. There have been more than enough superhero -- and non-superhero -- stories told from this perspective. And we've seen time and again that women are more than capable of directing compelling action, female-centric or no. It would be fantastic to see more women in the director's chair, particularly working in genres that have traditionally been identified with men, whether those films center around a female character or not.
But given that this is a film that focuses on Wonder Woman, it needs the female perspective. Out of all of the WB superheroes, there is only one female hero: Wonder Woman. In a man's world, she stands alongside her male peers to fight injustice, and what male director could possibly understand what it means to be that lone female voice? Wonder Woman's presence in the Justice League is great, but she's one woman in a group of men -- it's like a metaphor for the lack of representation of women in Hollywood. Come on.
Wonder Woman was conceived with progressive ideology, and regardless of whatever is done to her character when she's put through the gritty update machine in the new WB universe, she's still a feminist icon who stands for truth and justice, as an equal among her male peers -- and there are more than enough talented female directors who should be counted as equals among their male peers and be considered for the job:
Michelle MacLaren, who has done fantastic work directing episodes of 'Breaking Bad' and 'Game of Thrones,' and one of the best episodes of the recent first season of HBO's 'The Leftovers,' is one of the immediate choices that comes to mind. Karyn Kusama, director of 'Girlfight' and the underrated horror flick 'Jennifer's Body' is another solid choice -- an oft-overlooked director who understands action and is female-oriented.
There's no underestimating director Kimberly Peirce, whose integrity and passion are fiercely impressive. And while her 'Carrie' remake was a bit disappointing, the parts of that film that did work reflected exactly what we expected from her: an honest portrayal of her complex female subjects. Patty Jenkins, who wrote and directed 'Monster,' giving Charlize Theron one of her best roles, would also be a strong choice -- and lest we forget, Jenkins was directing 'Thor: The Dark World' before she was replaced by Alan Taylor. If WB really wants to double-down on making a statement, that's one way to go.
And what about Angelina Jolie? She's now directed two films and is working on her third: 'By the Sea,' with Brad Pitt, which is scheduled to be released in 2015. That would give her time to work on 'Wonder Woman.' Not only does she know how things work in front of and behind the scenes, but Jolie is a noted humanitarian and feminist, giving her the kind of insight other directors might not have. She's basically a real-life Wonder Woman.
Finally, there's Kathryn Bigelow, which is the total dream choice. The director of recent action flicks like 'The Hurt Locker' and 'Zero Dark Thirty' knows a thing or two about realism and grittiness and dimensional, humanist drama. Landing Bigelow would be a major get for WB.
But it's not just about the directors, is it? 'Wonder Woman' should also be written by a woman. Jane Goldman, who wrote 'Kick-Ass' and 'X-Men: First Class' would be a great choice, as would Marti Noxon, whose previous credits include 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' (the TV series) and 'Mad Men.' Noxon is also working on adapting Gillian Flynn's 'Sharp Objects' into a TV series. And although WB has mentioned that their films are eschewing the fun flavor of Marvel's universe, getting someone like Diablo Cody to pen the screenplay for 'Wonder Woman' would be a smart choice, bringing a little humor and a confident voice. Reuniting her with director Karyn Kusama could be wonderful.
Look, this could go on forever. There are plenty -- plenty -- of talented women to write and direct a 'Wonder Woman' movie, and the last thing we need is another movie about a woman from the minds of a bunch of dudes. Warner Bros. already has the leg up on Marvel here by announcing a solo female superhero movie, which is a pretty big deal. If they do this right, it could be, well, wonderful. In the immortal words of RuPaul: Don't f--- it up.