Happy Mothers Day, The Avengers, and Wonder Woman!

Happy Mothers Day! To all you fabulous mothers out there I truly wish you the best. I am so blessed to have the most incredible one, and the most amazing 95 year old grandmother, so this is a day to celebrate.

Since I had to be on a plane today to NYC I celebrated with my family last night. We went for a lovely dinner and then to the blockbuster hit, The Avengers! I loved it. I love superhero movies period and this one, with all its spectacular special effects and witty dialogue, was just great. That said I left the movie very upset.

The first reason is that the two previews were of the upcoming SPIDERMAN and BATMAN movies. How many is that now? I think combined over 10 feature length films. 10 and still no WONDERWOMAN!!! And how about the number of SUPERMAN movies? Seriously? Characters like The Mask, Spawn, Steel, Blade, Daredevil, The Hulk, Catwoman and more have had features, but WW is stuck in development. Enough already.

The second reason is that Josh Whedon was the filmmaker behind The Avengers and he did a GREAT job. I sat there thinking why the heck did he not do the WW film he was hired for? Back in 2005 he was hired to write the screenplay and left the project in 2007 citing creative differences. I commissioned a report to be written on the history of WMM ( which I am figuring out what do with) and here is what the writer of the report Laura Moore had to say quoting from an interview.

By all accounts, Joss Whedonʼs script never made it past an outline, and therefore a draft was never written. There are rumors that a draft script does exist, but if this is true, that draft is well and truly hidden, for all attempts to locate a copy have proved fruitless. Whedon did offer some insight as to his vision of Wonder Woman in a 2007 interview online. Below is a section of this interview as it pertains to the plot of his now abandoned film: “Well, I’ll tell you one thing that sort of exemplifies my feelings. The idea was always that she’s awesome, she’s fabulous, she’s strong, she’s beautiful, she’s well-intentioned, she thinks she’s a great big hero, and it’s Steve Trevor’s job to go, “You don’t understand human weakness, therefore you are not a hero, and you never will be until you’re as helpless as we are. Fight through that, and then I’ll be impressed. Until then, I’m just going to give you shit in a romantic-comedy kind of way.”

There was talk about what city she was in and stuff, but by the end, she had never actually set foot in America. Wonder Woman isn’t Spider-man or Batman. She doesn’t have a town, she has a world. That was more interesting to me than a kind of contained, rote superhero franchise. I think ultimately the best way I can describe the kind of movie I was wanting to make—it was a fun adventure, not gritty, or insanely political, or anything like that. There was meat to the idea of, “Well, why aren’t you guys better? What’s up with that?” Her lack of understanding of how this world has come to this pass. My favorite thing was the bracelets. I mean, the bracelets are cool, but how do I make that work? In the original comic book, they needed them because they fire guns on Paradise Island. I don’t think I’m going there. So, I thought about it for a while, and I realized, “Oh, right, this is how this works.”

So in my version, she left Paradise Island with Steve, who was a world-relief guy bringing medical supplies to refugees, which is why he was so desperate to get off the island. She goes with him, and the moment she sets foot on land outside of Paradise Island, somebody shoots her in the chest. And it hurts. [Laughs.] She’s just so appalled. And obviously, she heals within a few hours. She pulls the bullet out herself, and kind of looks at it like, “What the hell is this?” She heals, but she’s appalled and humiliated, and the next time someone shoots at her, she puts her bracelet in the way because she’s terrified of getting shot. It’s just a reflexive thing. She has these bands that they all wear, just a piece of armor, and she puts it up. And then she gets good at it. By the end, it’s kind of her thing, but it’s because she got shot one time and didn’t think that it was awesome. I think that is probably not the feeling the producers wanted to have. Though honestly, that could have been their favorite thing. I don’t know, because when I asked Joel Silver, point blank, “Well, if they don’t want what I’m doing, what do they want?” he said, “They don’t know.”

I loved what I was doing. I mean, it was really hard. It took me a long time to break the story structurally to my satisfaction. When I did that, it was in an outline, and not in a draft, and they didn’t like it. So I never got to write a draft where I got to work out exactly what I wanted to do. In terms of the meaning, the feeling, the look, the emotion, the character, the relationship with Steve Trevor, all of that stuff, I never wavered for a second. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It was really just a question of housing it. I would go back in a heartbeat if I believed that anybody believed in what I was doing. The lack of enthusiasm was overwhelming. It was almost staggering, and that was kind of from the beginning. I just don’t think my take on Wonder Woman was ever to their liking. I wasn’t getting them to feel what they wanted to feel. They couldn’t describe what that was to me. We’re talking about a huge investment. To ask somebody to jump on that, what is going to be a few hundred million dollars these days, if they just don’t have that feeling… I got chills when I think of some of this stuff, but apparently I was the only one who was chilly.Everybody was very gracious about it. It was a blind date, and everybody thought we’d get married, but let’s just leave it at the door.”

The line about the staggering lack of enthusiasm from the beginning makes me WILD! It is like there is a conspiracy thing going to NOT have WW come to the big screen. The excuse that the property is so valuable to not have it done well is at this point ridiculous. Put a group of feminist icons and wonder woman fans in the room with some great writers and I guarantee  you will have a story line in no time. ( and I have offered to help them make it happen!!!)

The third reason for me being so annoyed is that of all the main characters in the film, only one of our heroes was a woman. ONE. What message does that send to all the girls watching that film? Let me tell you.  The message is that most of the heroes out there are male. Girl heroes are the exception and not the rule. If you think I am making too much of this issue I challenge you to watch the film “MissRepresentation” which is now available on DVD. Watch it then tell me if I am making too much of it.

I am honored to serve on the advisory board for The Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media and she is all about, they are all about, holding the industry accountable for this misrepresentation of women and girls in the media. “We cannot be what we cannot see” and we are not seeing enough women and girls as the ones saving the world.

So although I loved the film I left sad. I wish Josh Whedon was kept on the WMM film. I don’t understand why for every 10 Superhero films featuring a male main character, there is one featuring a woman. I want there to be more superhero films where women are not just the secondary characters or arm candy.  I want there to be more accountability by the film industry in general to have a half of the main characters and secondary characters women and girls.   Lastly I WILL  figure out how to launch a campaign to get WW on the big screen NOW!!  This is such a HUGE missed opportunity for the studio and I truly don’t get it. It is simply bad business NOT have the most iconic female superhero on the big screen. Warner Brothers management and board of directors what the heck are you thinking? Enough excuses, enough. It is time. Her fans are waiting and so is a potential billon dollars.

 

2 thoughts on “Happy Mothers Day, The Avengers, and Wonder Woman!

  1. Wonder Woman is boring, period. Has zero to do with gender. DC comics are boring in general, Superman movies are terrible, only Batman was redeemed a bit in the movies. As a middle aged man who was a huge comic buff (still have preserved 1st issues from the 60’s) its always been the case the Marvel has better heros, and making WW exciting will be very difficult. A truth telling rope? Sure……
    If the make this movie under pressure from women, and FOR women, it will bomb, the feminist imperative is insufficient to drive a movie to success.

  2. Dear Jacki,

    As an old fan of the classic Wonder Woman, I am also frustrated by Warner Brothers’ sluggish progress on bringing this heroine to the big screen. But until somebody can come up with a clear vision of what the film will become, and rip the license free from das Weiner Bros, it doesn’t matter who worked on it, or who could be a part of it. Joss Whedon simply was not the person for the job at the time.

    Also, Marvel is just as culpable for not having enough superheroines to be in the Avengers film. They have never been able to create a popular superheroine who actually has superpowers that can impress the audience. Their Elektra was originally a ninja-trained assassin, created by the same guy who features deadly prostitutes in “Sin City”. Still, having SHIELD agent Maria Hill was a surprise because she started out as a loathsome government agent who wanted to put superheroes on a tight leash.

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