Wonder Woman - Gal Gadot - Chris Pine

When did you start focusing on a World War I backdrop for this story?

That was a decision that I actually stepped into. When I had talked to them about it before, it was always assumed that it was World War II, and then when I came in to the project, the studio and Zack [Snyder] and everybody had decided, “Oh, let’s look at World War I.” And I ended up loving it. I was like, “Wow, that’s really interesting.” Because you’ve seen so many World War II movies and it’s such a well known story. Whereas if you’re looking at a god with an ideal belief system coming into a man’s world, World War I was the first time that we had mechanized war, that we started bombing people from afar, that it was a war without any kind of pride or system of what was honorable and what wasn’t, shooting people from afar. They’ve always been shooting people from afar, but they didn’t have the technology to do it in the same way.

It became a cool thing to explore a different period of time and tell a story that you haven’t seen before. And, “Who’s the bad guy?” was much more gray in World War I, which made it interesting, because [there’s not just a] straight-up villain or obvious villain. [Diana] ends up being able to question, “Wait, what’s going on here? Why are you firing that gun? Aren’t you on the good side?” The complicated nature of that was really fascinating, of her observation of man.

How has the character of Steve Trevor changed through your various versions, and also, how difficult is he as a character to get right. I imagine you don’t want him to be a damsel in distress type character.

Yeah, not at all. He actually is very difficult, but also very easy, in a way. He hasn’t changed, not at all, since I’ve ever been interested, because of exactly that. I didn’t want him to be a damsel in distress. I didn’t want to make an issue out of it. I didn’t want to make a feminist statement with him. I wanted the guy, who you want to be with, who’s cool that you’re trying to do something else at the same time. And I want it to live up to that emotionally myself. Who’s the guy who can be like, “Well, that was a little intimidating.” But they can still help you when you need help. Or love you, or support you, or whatever.

Since the beginning, I cared passionately about hitting that same target that anybody would want to hit for your love interest. Make him someone I am in love with, who believes in me, and helps me where I have weakness. And the vulnerability of that relationship meant everything to me. And I would say it all the time throughout the movie to other people. I was like, “You would never to do that to Superman. You would never do that to Lois Lane”‘ If people would ever have this “Well, she can’t need his help.” I’m like, “So if Superman was like ‘Fuck you, Lois,’ how satisfying would that be?” They have to need each other. It has to be a love story. Everybody has to be stronger or more powerful. We just have to make it work in that sort of way, and we can’t overthink what it means to say she needs him for a second, or he knows more than her in this way, and she knows more than him in this way. She’s a superhero. Don’t worry about her. I think Superman is a great parallel for that. All of them are. You wouldn’t do that to Gwen Stacy. You wouldn’t do it to anybody. It’s important all those people have their people in the world who believe in them and love them and help them, yet understand their lives are complicated.

wonder woman trailer

You mentioned Gwen Stacy, and obviously you have history with Marvel. What do you think is the most striking difference between the two universes in your experience?

I don’t know. I think there’s been a tonal…like sometimes Marvel goes for more fun and DC goes to make a more serious film. But I think there are shades of gray in all of it. Like I think Doctor Strange was a more serious film, and I think this is sort of a lighter film. I don’t think Suicide Squad was particularly un-light. They’re all over the place. I think there may be slightly more consistency in the tone of Marvel films recently, but I don’t think it will always stay that way. I love them both. I will never stop being grateful to Marvel for wanting me to do their movie. That’s not an obvious choice. I met them, we hit it off and made great conversations about it. At the time it seemed like they could go a lot of different ways, and they wanted to go the way I wanted to go. Then things shifted and they realized they needed to go another way to fit into their universe, and it was not something that I find myself suited for. So it was a much more peaceful departure, but I’ve always had fond memories of them, and I respect what they do.

Can you talk about the pressure? You’re coming into the biggest genre that’s going on right now. There are so many filmmakers that have come and gone off these projects that there’s so much pressure to deliver on an intense level for these projects. I’m just curious, can you talk about what that experience has been like for you? Not just making the movie you want to make, but also making a movie that’s fitting into a wider universe, and also in the biggest genre in Hollywood right now.

There are two different realities going on. The one reality is the idea of getting to make a movie, to make something you’re already aiming so high for yourself, it makes it harder to make a film. So on one hand, almost nothing changed. My relationship to this movie is still, “Am I the right director? Can I do it? Can I make it great? Oh my God, are we getting close? Oh God, don’t let it get messed up.” It’s like the same ride in a way. But certainly I flipped back out to this intense focus of what this movie means and what does it stand for. I was very aware of that with Thor where I was like, if I’m not confident that I’m the best person for this movie, and I’m not confident I could make a good movie out of this, this is politically a big step backwards for women directing blockbusters.

You do have to be very aware the whole time that these people need something great. Do I believe I can aim for great with them and that we have a chance? You have to be aware of what their needs are too, but in this case, slightly less intense. Because I believe in exactly a great Wonder Woman. I don’t have an alt agenda. I believe in a great Wonder Woman origin story too. So all of those conversations become better. It’s definitely an interesting life experience, fascinating all the time. This is wild, how much it matters to a lot of people and girding yourself for the fact–girding my son as I talk to him–that somebody is going to say everything. Somebody’s gonna hate it, somebody’s gonna like it, somebody’s gonna think it should be this way or that way. And you hope for the best, but you also have to know you’re stepping into a very intense world where she belongs to a lot of people. You have a lot of people to please.

Continue Reading Wonder Woman Director Interview >>

Cool Posts From Around the Web: