We talked all things Wonder Woman with the director and costume designer of “Professor Marston and the Wonder Women”
With the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movie, the iconic female superhero has become a beacon of hope during our current political state. Even in the 1970s, Gloria Steinem featured Wonder Woman on the first cover of Ms. Magazine as a call to action. So how did this legendary Wonder Woman character come to be? Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, written and directed by Angela Robison, explores just that.
To give you some backstory, DC’s most popular female superhero was created in 1941 by Dr. William Moulton Marston, a famous psychologist. He, along with his wife, Elizabeth Marston, invented the lie detector test. (Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth is basically a version of the lie detector). And while there’s no denying that Marston created an amazing comic-book hero, the two women who inspired Wonder Woman are even more engrossing.
Robinson’s film follows the relationship between William (played by Luke Evans), Elizabeth (played by Rebecca Hall), and their partner Olive Byrne Richard (played by Bella Heathcote). Yes, we’re talking about a polyamorous relationship during the 1920s. And even when William died in 1947, Elizabeth and Olive stayed together.
The film was released in theaters back in October, but it’s out now on Blu-Ray and DVD. So in honor of its release, we caught up with Angela Robinson, the film’s writer/director and the costume director, Donna Maloney, to chat about how topical this film is considering our political landscape and how the costumes reflected the film’s unconventional characters.
Robinson explained how she was enthralled by the story of Wonder Woman and the people who inspired the character. She told HelloGiggles,
"I couldn't believe that this incredible love story was at the basis of who Wonder Woman came to be. The relationship between Elizabeth and Olive was totally compelling and interesting. It makes me love Wonder Woman even more."
It was almost as if these women were from a different era. The fact that Elizabeth had an education, wore pants instead of dresses and skirts, and spoke her mind was unconventional during the prohibition era. Elizabeth was also a lawyer and Olive was the niece of renowned feminist Margaret Sanger. Even in her fashion, Elizabeth didn’t follow the rules. Costume Designer Donna Maloney tells HelloGiggles,
"Elizabeth's clothes were always more professional. She wore suits and she was always a little more closed up. She was someone who almost didn't exist at that time. She thought differently. She cut her hair off. She wore pants. She was just a very different kind of woman. She was very forward-thinking and she didn't want to be contained by the world that she lived in."
So when you think about how Elizabeth and Olive lived, and how progressive they were, it’s interesting to see how much (or how little) things have changed. Robinson says,
"What was the most striking, and maybe depressing, about all the research on the lives that they lived is how little has changed. The line that always kills me in the movie is when Marston, in 1929, is saying, 'We just marched for birth control and reproductive rights.' And that was so long ago and they thought that a female president was around the corner, they really thought any day now, there was going to be a female president."
Ironically, Robinson finished the movie two weeks before the election. “When we were making it, we really thought that we were going to have our first female president any minute, and that’s how they felt, too.”
Aside from the fact that women are still fighting for equal rights, it’s comforting to know that Elizabeth and Olive, who defied society’s standards in the 20th century, inspired such a badass female superhero.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is available now on Blu-Ray, DVD, and digitally.