The Beat got to have an exclusive chat with the dynamic duo, who I’ve dubbed cinematic soulmates, director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot about their highly anticipated next chapter in the Wonder Woman series, Wonder Woman 1984!
Wonder Woman 1984 (WW84) will be the first blockbuster of its kind to be released in theaters and on HBO Max this Christmas! WW84 sees Diane Prince/Wonder Woman in the ’80s with new threats in friend-turned-foe Dr. Barbara Minerva/ Cheetah (Kristen Wiig) and Max Lord (Pedro Pascal). We chatted with Gadot & Jenkins about the technical challenges of creating Cheetah & the ‘80s for the screen, Diana’s more vulnerable transformation in this film, the film’s timely & relevant themes, and so much more!
On how she technically re-created the 80s to give the film an authentic feel, Jenkins shared: “I was striving to make a great movie and for people to get a full ’80s feel from this film without a ton of 80s jokes or tracks. And I thought, why not seize the day on the heels of a successful film where they’re letting us get away with it to try to aim for the sky and like, do the biggest visual thing we could do. So, thank God they let us.”
On the conscious decision to have Steve Trevor be the one to do a fashion montage and a role reversal of sorts, Jenkins said: “Almost in a funny relationship moment to where it’s like the guy would say to the girl, like, you take forever getting the shoes on the other foot and it’s like it’s you know, it’s like he’s very picky about what he’s going to wear to win. And so, we thought that was hilarious.”
On Diana’s journey and how loss transforms her and unlocks something new in her, Gadot told us: “In the first movie it was the birth of Wonder Woman and for the first time she discovers her full powers, and then she was born. From Diana, she became Wonder Woman. In the first film, she’s looking at humanity from the outside, and speaking up when things are not right, and emphasizing how it should be. In this film, she completely and fully understands the complexities of humankind because she is a part of them now. She’s in her full powers and yet she’s lonely and she suffers from the same problems that everyone else suffers from. So, it gave me a lot to play with and it was a very different experience than being new and being the fish out of water in the first film. Now I am more experienced, I’ve been there, I have more knowledge and all of that, and now something happens to me.”
“I think that it was a very good decision that Patty, Geoff Johns, and Dave Callaham made with the script. And, and it was delightful to play. I love strong, powerful women, and I love to play them and to see them onscreen, but there is something more interesting to me to show the flaws, the imperfections, and the vulnerabilities. This is something that I always look into doing when I portray Wonder Woman.”
Jenkins added: “Yeah while I can’t spoil it, but for me, it was the fact that even Diana, Wonder Woman made & makes the same mistakes other humans do. And I wanted to walk you as the audience up to that place where you’re like, ‘But I want it so bad!’ And that’s true for all of us. Like we all struggle when we can’t get over grief or when we can’t accept what’s happening in our lives and even when we can’t stop asking for that aspect of ourselves that isn’t present. I loved that even Wonder Woman faces these same things and goes on the same journey as our villains.”
On creating Cheetah for the screen, Jenkins shared: “The arc between Diana and Barbara was great. We’ve talked about how it’s not a purely feminine arc, but it is an arc that makes a lot of sense to women in their friendships that they’ve had in their youth. And so, it was fun to get to do that. And interesting to see how Diana’s friend turns into her frenemy, once she realizes that she’s coveting something about her. And it was cool to try to make Barbara’s arc organic where it gets to a place where she says and thinks it’s her turn. There’s that bitterness I love in Kristen’s performance there, where she’s misunderstanding completely what Diane is trying to tell her. “
“From a technical standpoint, executing Cheetah was harrowing. I have to tell you, I always knew that I wanted Cheetah to be in it, but from day one, I knew it had to be right. I was scared about not getting it to look right, and it took every single second from the moment we started prep to the moment we locked the picture to get it there.”
On co-starring with Kristen Wiig, Gadot said: “Kristen is freaking amazing. I love her so much. When she came to set, we clicked immediately. And we just have such good chemistry and it was pure fun. We were laughing all the time. One moment we’re laughing and then the next moment, the cameras were rolling.”
On how the themes of love and truth in 1984 would play out now if the film were set in 2020, Jenkins told us: “You know, the only thing that we got to do in 1984 was talk about it and scream. I think we’re in a more nuanced time now, and we are starting to be aware of the mistakes that we’ve made. What was different about then was, we were whole-hog caught up in the dream with no accountability, and nobody talking about how unfair the world was as much. Of course, it was unfair and unfair things were happening but there was this belief that American success would go on forever. So, the idea of getting to talk about it in those extremes, and now we’re in this confusing place of having to pay the price for the way we’ve been living and the things we’ve been ignoring, is interesting.”
“And so, I loved getting to do it, and it very much felt like we were getting to talk about it now. And my favorite thing about Wonder Woman is that we have a superhero book that stands for love and teaching love to mankind. That’s why I feel like I could make 700 of these movies. There’s nothing about this, that’s like, ‘I’m sick of that!’ That’s like life’s journey for all of us, learning how to be more loving and better people. So, it’s like having a metaphor to talk about the challenges that we all face. Trying to be better people is wild and wonderful.”
On her favorite iteration of Diana thus far, out of the four films in the DCEU that she’s portrayed her, Gadot said: “My two babies are Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984! I am very lucky that I was cast by Zack Snyder and I got to work with him and his amazing teams. And it was amazing. But you know, the other films were ensemble movies. And in this one, I get to tell my story and my arc in such a profound way. Wonder Woman and Wonder Woman 1984 are very different experiences for me.”
With Wonder Woman, it was my first big starring movie, and I felt like, ‘Oh my God, when are they going to call the bluff and see that I’m not a good actress.’ Thank God that I had Patty there with me, and we got into this together and we created what we created. In this film, I felt like I was more empowered and I knew what I was getting myself into. I was more confident, more eager to create something even bigger and more ambitious and to take it to the next level. As much as it was more challenging and complex, the satisfaction that I had working on this set and getting to bring the script to life with Patti and our amazing cast and crew was just an amazing, amazing feeling.”
The Beat will have more Wonder Woman 1984 exclusives for you but don’t forget to set your calendars for December 25th and get ready to stream Wonder Woman 1984, only on HBO Max!