Yahoo Movies visited the set of ‘Wonder Woman’ back in early 2016 to speak to the cast and crew.
The film was shooting in Leavesden Studios in Watford (home of The Making Of Harry Potter tour) with the back lot completely transformed into a WW1 trench for our visit. ‘Wonder Woman’ is a follow-up to ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’ but is mostly set in 1918, and tells the origin story of the iconic female superhero.
We spoke to stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine and Ewen Bremner, and producers Charles Roven and Rebecca Steel Roven about the upcoming film, which is released in the UK on 2 June.
How Gal Gadot got the job
Roven told us how Gal Gadot, who first played ‘Wonder Woman’ in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice’, got the role. “Gal was tested along with 4 other actresses opposite Ben Affleck [Batman] when we were doing ‘BvS’, and the great thing about her was that she was able really look Ben in the eye, he is a big presence, and not be intimidated by him and at the same time have a twinkle in her eye.
She really gave us all the qualities that we wanted in Wonder Woman; strong but exuding warmth and is definitely feminine.”
They would only make the film with a female director
Producer Charles Roven said: “We felt it was important that wonder woman be directed by a woman. We want to make the DC world more inclusive for everybody and we also wanted to a bring a feminine sensibility into the filmmaking. There are differences between men and women. [Director] Patty Jenkins is interested in telling the story from a woman’s perspective.”
Director Patty Jenkins was picked for her work on ‘Monster’
Roven said Jenkins’ work on Monster, about the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, persuaded him to hire her for Wonder Woman. “I was a fan of ‘Monster’”, he said, “Where Charlize Theron won the Oscar, so clearly she was able to pull an amazing performance out of Charlize and create a character, as despicable as she was, you had sympathy for. We all really liked her take on the material.”
It was the first time Gadot had been directed by a woman
Gad Gadot told us: “I’ve never got the opportunity to work with a female director before. Patty is sensitive, smart and her agenda is very clear when it comes to Wonder Woman, the communication is different to working with a guy. We talk about the emotional arc of what she feels and less about the action. I have great chemistry with Patty.”
The film starts with a link to ‘Batman V Superman’
Executive producer Rebecca Steel Roven told us about the opening of the film. “Wonder woman starts in the present day,” she said. “We meet Diana working in Paris, in the world of antiquities and she receives a crate from Wayne Enterprises. Inside is the photograph of Wonder Woman [in WW1-era Belgium with Chris Pine and the rest of his team] that we see in ‘Batman v Superman’. Bruce Wayne has sent it to her. The photograph sends her back into her memory, the time of her childhood, before time even existed. That’s the link between Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman, this photograph.”
There’s several comedy scenes between Gadot and Chris Pine
Early on in the film Diana encounters Steve Trevor (Pine), a WW1 allied spy who crashes into her home Themyscira after he is pursued by Germans. Steve is the first man Diana has ever seen, a scenario mined for comic potential according to Roven. “They are captivated immediately by each other,” she said. “[There’s] a lightness, a playfulness between them. Diana brings that and it differentiates this from other films like Man of Steel and Batman v Superman; laughter, jokes and fun as these two get to know each other.”
Chris Pine and Gal Gadot had great chemistry
Chris Pine told us: “Chemistry is easy with Gal, she’s everything you want Wonder Woman to be, she’s strikingly beautiful, and has an incredible work ethic. What makes this version fun is the spirit Gal brings to it. There’s a real joyful, young hopeful spirit… that kind of joy is fun on set.”
The film has a strong feminist angle
After Diana decides to help Steve with his mission and leaves Themyscira she ends up in 1918-era London. The gender inequality of the time allowed the filmmakers to work in more humour, but also social commentary, according to the producers.
“She’s confused by inferior roles that women seem to have in this world that she’s entered,” said Rebacca Steel Roven. In one scene Diana must get an Edwardian makeover from Steve’s secretary Etta Candy (Lucy Davis) and, says Roven, “she’s trying on all this conservative clothing and she’s trying to fight and kick in it. She says ‘how do women fight in this armour?’.
“There’s a little bit of political and social commentary about women’s roles. She does not like being called a secretary. She comes from a world where women ran the world, so this is curious and mystifying to her.”
Adds Charles Roven: “What’s so great about setting the movie in the time period, 1918, is that woman have just gotten the vote, literally, yet they’re still not allowed into certain meetings. We have a little fun with the social mores of the time.”
Ewen Bremner could be the film’s scene-stealer
‘Trainspotting’ star Bremner plays alcoholic sniper Charlie, recruited by Steve along with Sameer (Saïd Taghmaoui) and Chief (Eugene Brave Rock), to help his mission with Diana. Bremner told us that we should expect his character, who was discharged with shell shock, to provide comic relief in the film.
“I’m surprised how stupid they’ve let me be,” he said. “Patty has encouraged that. I’ve been having a lot of fun with my scenes in a comical way. There’s more opportunities for comedy than I anticipated when I read this and I have been finding stuff that wasn’t in the script. She also gave me license to be Scottish! Normally for an American film I would be brought much more into a sanitised vocal fold.”
The film was a ‘Naked’ reunion
Patty Jenkins apparently cast Ewen after seeing him in Mike Leigh’s gritty drama ‘Naked’. She loved the film so much she also cast his ‘Naked’ co-star David Thewlis and the film’s make-up designer and costume designer.
“Who knew 25 years ago we’d all be back together in tights and with the Lasso of Truth,” laughed Bremner.
‘Wonder Woman’ arrives in UK cinemas 2 June.