"Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins' cinematic influences might surprise you
Wonder Woman is a superhero movie, but it’s so much more than that — with elements of action, adventure, drama, romance, politics, feminism, and more.
“I had a tone in mind,” director Patty Jenkins said at a recent Wonder Woman Master Class at YouTube Space LA. “There’s a whole array of amazing superhero films being made by everybody. I’m so blown away by the variety of voices telling them in all departments, but [I was like, I’m not really seeing] the grand, classic, epic cinema. That seems like the right thing to do for Wonder Woman anyway, but I love that kind of film and I want to aim for massive in that way.”
Keeping that in mind, Jenkins turned to myriad films and characters for inspiration throughout her process, with three standouts in particular.
Director Richard Donner’s Superman — released in 1978 and starring Christopher Reeve and Margot Kidder — was very influential. “I find [Superman] to be such a perfect film because it’s dealing with very adult themes, but it could reach even a child and was a great time to watch. How wonderful to inspire people to want to be a hero, to want to be a better person, and how do you do that, how do you learn how to be a loving, wonderful person while wielding these powers? Wow, what a thing.” There are homages to Donner’s work in Wonder Woman (in theaters now!), including an alley fight scene, so keep an eye out!
As serious as Wonder Woman can be at times, there’s a lot of humor too — and that’s where this treasure hunter comes in. “Indiana Jones became my second [influence] because I was like, ‘Okay, cool, what’s a great experience that deals with war, but that’s a lot of fun? That [features] a great guy, a real earth-bound guy?’ That became a real influence for Steve [Chris Pine]…because Indiana Jones is the guy who’d be like, ‘Alright, you can do that one, and still be the coolest, macho-est guy in the world.’”
Steve being comfortable with a strong, independent woman in charge makes the romance between he and Diana (Gal Gadot) all the better. To hit the right notes there, Jenkins turned to a classic romantic drama — none other than Casablanca. “I was like, I want a great, grand love story about equals dealing with a complicated thing.” Jenkins was aware that she was aiming big, but it appears that’s just what felt right. “All three of those things were aiming for like ‘Wow, okay,’ but that was inspiring to me, to do it that way.”
And inspiring to us too! Together, Wonder Woman is a dynamic, empowering movie, and 👏👏👏👏👏 .