WARNING – HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD! DO NOT READ UNTIL AFTER WATCHING WW84!
Ever since Wonder Woman burst onto the silver screen, the anticipation for a sequel has been very prevalent amongst many a movie lover. And with its upcoming theatrical release along with its simultaneous HBO Max premiere, a whole lot of people will be returning to see what the iconic Amazonian Princess has in store. Well thankfully, writer/director Patty Jenkins is back to bring us a very special return, one that may rise about the heights of its predecessor. While it may be a sequel, Wonder Woman 1984 feels like a fresh and excitingly unique adventure, one that continues to allow Gal Gadot to shine bright. As well, the new villains in town bring a whole lot of something extra as Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal are both terrific in the new film.
Recently, we had the amazing opportunity to not only see WW84 early, we also sat in for a Zoom chat along with a small group of journalists to talk about the upcoming feature with both Ms. Gadot and Ms. Jenkins. Even before the interview began, the filmmaker had this to say about the unusual release for a blockbuster in 2020.
“This is the moment, where this thing that we have could become something to give.” She added, “It was super hard to decide to do [release theatrically and on HBO Max] but the second they mentioned the idea to me, I was like, oh my God! The fact that we get to play in people’s houses on Christmas Day is like a great honor. Really, truly. I never thought I’d say that about streaming over theatrical. I’m going to go back to my old ways, down the road, but this is a special year. So to give people the film in any way they can is like really awesome.”
With that, we’re thrilled to offer this fantastic conversation with both the amazing twosome of Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins about their sensational new feature, Wonder Woman 1984. No matter how you choose to watch, you’re in for a massive treat! WW84 opens on Christmas in theatres as well as your own home!
Hey, how are you?
Gal Gadot: I'm okay. I'm good. How are you? I’m nervous and excited! You’re the first people we’re talking to who actually saw the movie. This is the first day we’ve had this. So this is exciting.
Well we loved it. Honestly just fantastic. We’re all giddy, we’re all crying. We’re all in tears.
GG: Oh my God! That’s so great!
Patty Jenkins: Thank you so much. We’ve waited a long time to just get something like that. Like some feedback. So that just makes my year.
It was one of the best openings. That first sequence – it’s all fantastic – but that sequence in the Amazon…
GG: Truly special. I cried when I watched it.
And that ending speech that you give Gal, that’s when I broke. That’s emotionally when I started crying.
PJ: Thank you for that! Thank you! Because that speech, some people can like the movie for other reasons, and not realize, but that performance Gal gave, I said to her that’s one of the best performances that I’ve ever been involved with in my whole life. It was such a hard speech because its someone truly going to this place where they are talking to all of humanity, but in it themselves, guilty of it themselves. That means so much to me. I so appreciate that.
GG: Thank you so much. I’m humbled. I don’t know what to say guys, you’re the best! We could talk for hours.
Something I really appreciated was seeing not only physical vulnerability, which we saw some emotional vulnerability in the first one, but can you talk about adding that dimension to Diana from both Patty and Gal?
PJ: My favorite thing about what we were trying to do with the story is that Wonder Woman makes the mistake too. That’s how important it was to me, it was so important to not be pointing a finger at the bad guy. We’re all guilty. We all want what we want. I still believe it myself. We want what we want and there’s a price, and we don’t want to look at what the price is. Or we can’t let go of what we thought we needed to have. I loved the idea that here’s this villain who does it for one reason, and here’s the other villain who does it for another reason. Even Diana wants to look the other way when even her power is putting mankind and the whole world in danger, she just can’t believe there’s not another way. And to me that was such a wonderful thing to watch Gal play, you know.
GG: Totally. And I feel like in the first movie she saw the flaws with mankind, and she was there to say, this is not right, this is not how it should be done. You know, we should all be about love and together and peace, and all that. This time is was more interesting to put her in the same perspective as everyone else because – and this is such a universal thing – we all want something, we all want more. And the fact that she has this flaw as well, just makes her more interesting and it gave me a lot more to play with rather than being the straight one that always knows what’s right. It just felt like it was more interesting. And it was a really good choice that Patty made, that we’re all going to be in the same perspective and suffering from the same problem and paying the price for it. And then she will have the catharsis to be the first one to give it up. And then, you know, the rest of the world.
It would’ve been so easy to just rehash the same premise of the first one but in a different setting, you know, it’s the same premise but now it’s WWII, or now it’s in Vietnam, but this is a totally new concept, and a totally different kind of story. Can you talk about making that leap?
PJ: Thank you. I really appreciate that. It was funny, when we thought about what we wanted to do for the second film, I really like doing things for the first time. There’s something so fresh about discovery, and so electric about not knowing exactly how to do something. So it was so clear to me as we were even finishing the first film. I said, we’re not going to do more of this right? We know how to do this now, and I never wanted my crew and all of us subconsciously to be like, listen, I know how to do it, we went through this before.
So I made this big deal to everybody when it was carried in the press that it wasn’t a sequel, I kept saying that but it was for a different reason. I said this isn’t a sequel guys, we’re making a brand new film. And I even grabbed all of this artwork that influenced our ad campaign and started giving it to everybody and started saying this is what we’re making. We’re making Details magazine in the Eighties pop, you know, and I was like, that’s right, that’s how not the same [logo] this is so wrap your head around it. It’s a whole new movie.
Wonder Woman is the same person, and Steve is the same person so it’s definitely that. Yet I thought it was such a journey to create Wonder Woman in the first film. What I wanted to do this time was make a Wonder Woman movie. Totally different. What is Wonder Woman in this world and what does she stand for in this world? She stands for something so unique in the way that she stands for love and is God-like in the fact that she’s really trying to do the best for people, and not sure exactly what’s the right decision. Anyway, the story just kind of came to me and I loved the idea of doing a brand new movie that felt tonally different.
You really do something different with the villains as well. Can you talk about adding a bit of humanity in with them?
PJ: Yeah, I loved getting to do that. First of all, I loved some of the villains that I grew up with where you had a really interesting and funny and dynamic character. In this one, not unlike my desire to make Monster, and talk about why people do the things they do, I loved the challenge of saying like, “Okay, so how does this person become a superhero? What is the struggle and their journey to get there? How does this person become a villain?” Particularly with Max, I loved the fact that he’s so preoccupied with trying to live up to this thing probably because of his own father or whatever, to tell his son I’m gonna be a winner and his son never cared about that. Like nobody cared about it. It’s in your own head that you have to become this person to be worthy of love. Watching that storyline and how far he’s willing to go, and watching Cheetah’s storyline and how far Barbara is willing to go just to feel adequate. It was important, because I think that's hopefully the important subtext of the movie, is that we are all these people. We all have our moments of knowing that we could choose not to do the heroic thing because there’s some hole we need to fill. When we’re facing what we’re facing in the modern world, we’re all going to have to start facing sacrifice and thinking on a global scale about caring for each other, you know? That was something I really cared about bringing to all these people.
One of the things I loved so much about this film is there’s such care in trying to make sure we see Diana saving people and even saving people that are acting antagonistically towards her. So I’d love to hear you weigh in on why it was so important to show that side of Diana in this film?
GG: This is part of the reason why we decided that she shouldn’t have a sword or a shield. Diana is not aggressive. She’s not there to fight. She’s a peacemaker. She also has the higher understanding that people are not bad per say, you know? Continuation to what Patty just mentioned, we’re all the same, we all have our moments where we don’t do the right thing in order to fill this hole. She assumes the best out of people, and her default is always to protect them and she leads by example. For her, humankind, they’ll get it, they’ll understand it eventually, but she will always do and give whatever she has in order to bring goodness to humankind.
PJ: And not one person dies in the whole movie. You may or may not notice, but we went out of our way, because if all these people were under the power of something else, then it’s not their fault. I loved dealing with that. It’s not their fault that they’re attacking you, so it became hilariously entertaining that she’s got the guy going in the car off the road but his breaks still work. Or no Steve, you can’t use the sword…
GG: Or the gun. Yeah, exactly.
PJ: Yeah, it’s not their fault. It was fun to try and do that. And our stunt guys and everything, we laid out the challenge in the beginning to not show death. People get pretty burnt probably [Laughing], but there’s no death and no shooting.
GG: Yeah, no dead bodies.
When did you realize you’d bring back Connie Nielsen and Robin Wright? Was that always written in? Was it because of the success of the first film?
PJ: It was not always written in. It was the success of the first film, but it was also something else. I wouldn’t of jammed it in there because of the success of the film, because it actually made the movie too long. We have two openings in our movie and we would talk about it with the studio all the time and they would say, you’ve got to cut the mall and the Eighties, or you’ve got to cut the Amazon. I was like, we can’t, we can’t cut either. The reason that I ended up realizing that you need the Amazon is because I suddenly, you do that thing where you’re like, wait, you have to remember all the people that haven’t seen the first Wonder Woman who watch this on a plane. And suddenly it’s like, oh, it’s super hard to understand who Diana is and what’s going on without touching base there. I love the fact that you hear all of the ‘being a great hero takes your whole life,’ you know? So there was this wisdom there that they were trying to tell her which is not about being the strongest or the fastest, it’s about these complex observations you have to make during life in order to become a true hero. I love that she doesn’t understand that until that final speech.
The flight sequence reminded me of the same type of feeling that came from watching the Richard Donner classic Superman, especially the Lois Lane flight sequence. Was that an inspiration for this at all?
PJ: Yes. Definitely. I love that. I love that. That scene is one of my favorite scenes in film history. So I loved it, and so secretly, people were all like, “what’s the ‘No Man’s Land’?” I was always like, there’s not going to be a ‘No-Man’s Land.’ But in a way, that is the ‘No Man’s Land.’ It’s a different moment where she has to make the brave choice by herself. So facing grief in that way was the ‘No Man’s Land’ and it does carry that emotion of Steve with her up into the sky. So yeah, that’s a great compliment and I’m happy to hear that.
PJ: The kind words today meant so much to us. I really, really appreciate it. I really appreciate it. Thank you guys for taking time with us.
GG: Thank you so much!