Patty Jenkins: A strong, modern force in Hollywood

"Wonder Woman" director Patty Jenkins is a strong asset to the world of filmmaking.

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Patty Jenkins: A strong, modern force in Hollywood

Patty Jenkins is a female director who has broken box office records.

Patty Jenkins is a female director who has broken box office records.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Patty Jenkins is a female director who has broken box office records.

Photo Credit: Flickr

Photo Credit: Flickr

Patty Jenkins is a female director who has broken box office records.

Breaking box office records, Wonder Woman became a major success. Behind this record breaking movie is director Patty Jenkins.

Coming onto the scene in 2003 with the movie Monster, Jenkins began receiving attention from Warner Brothers and other studios. Jenkins took a break from the film industry after directing Monster. She had a baby and wanted to direct something she believed in . Another factor in her taking a break was the industry’s sexism because of this she did not get offered movies even if they were authentic to her. Jenkins felt that Hollywood wasn’t completely interested in what she wanted to do. But during this time, her idea of making Wonder Woman came about; Jenkins  began talking to Warner Brothers about this. Taking years to get the process going, Jenkins was finally hired in 2015 to direct the movie.

Knowing her and Hollywood were not finished, her pursuit of Wonder Woman continued. Wanting the movie to appeal to everyone, her strongest desire was for the movie to appeal to the next generations of girls and boys. She wanted the message to be that a female superhero can be just as great as a male superhero.

When casting the roles in the movie, Jenkins wanted a unique group of actors. For casting the large tribe of amazons, Jenkins chose women athletes from all over the world. Even the youngest version of Wonder Woman is an award winning horseback rider. Creating the island of warriors resulted in months of training in horseback riding, sword fighting, archery, and gym training.  When shooting the film, she had three principles in mind: peace, love, and compassion. Israeli actress Gal Gadot seemed to have these qualities along with the strength needed to play Diana.  

“She always has stood for truth and love. Her genesis was based on Artemis. However, I do think that it’s very important right now to celebrate exactly that quality,” Jenkins said.

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When Wonder Woman was in the process of being filmed, the set was prominently female. Behind the matriarch Jenkins, the majority of the cast and crew were women.  In a place like Hollywood, this is uncommon. The roles Jenkins offered the women are also unique in Hollywood. Gadot, Connie Nielsen, and Robin Wright all agreed they had never been offered a role like a superhero, general, or queen.

“What’s really amazing is the way in which it’s just completely natural throughout the film. They don’t make a big deal out of it. It just is. That’s what I think is different. We’re not trying to highlight it or raise the stakes for it. We just accept that [female] authority,” said Nielsen.

Jenkins wanted to do things that had not yet been done. This included a massive beach battle, where hundreds of the sword wielding amazons come riding in on horses led by the general to battle men whom they did not know existed. Jenkins flipped classic gender roles yet again, allowing for something new. The fighting Jenkins included was done in a ballet-like sequence; the fight choreographer included fluid but strong movement. “[The battle was] designed for the way we move. We don’t move like men.” said Wright.

Watching behind the monitors, Jenkins knew the beach scene was something special, Gadot knew this as well. When interviewed by Meredith Woerner for the Los Angeles Times, Gadot shared her view on the scene. “I’ve never in my life seen a scene that is packed with beautiful, strong women that are just fighting together in such a beautiful harmony doing crazy, badass things. I’ve never in my life seen anything like that,” Gadot said. With the uniqueness of the women warriors riding in on horses and doing ballet-like fighting, Jenkins was able to set the scene for the rest of the movie.

The uniqueness of the women warriors riding in on horses and doing ballet-like fighting set the scene for the rest of the movie.”

Like Diana (Wonder Woman), Jenkins had been raised by a feminist mother; she admits this sheltered her from realizing her status as a filmmaker would create more attention. For Diana, this is similar. Having grown up on an island of only women, when she leaves her sheltered island, she is surprised. She walks into a parliament meeting where women are not allowed, but she believes she has every right to be there. “When Diana comes to the real world she’s completely oblivious about gender and society rules, that women are not equal to men. That’s the way to show it because, honestly, at the end of the day we are all equal souls in the universe. And it doesn’t matter if we are men or women,” said Gadot.

With everything that came out of Wonder Woman, Jenkins wanted to honor and create Diana in the image she imagined since she was a child. “When people get super critical about her outfit, who’s the one getting crazy about what a woman wears? That’s who she is; that’s Wonder Woman. I want her to look like my childhood fantasy,’ Jenkins said. While creating Wonder Woman, she used her ideas from childhood, the comic book, the original TV show, and even consulted Lynda Carter who was Wonder Woman from the television show. Jenkins ultimately didn’t want to change who Diana is; rather, she wanted to carry the torch of Wonder Woman for everyone.“[I want Wonder Woman] to teach people the lessons of thinking for yourself and doing the right thing and trying to be a good person,” said Jenkins. She wants to do good.

With the success of Wonder Woman, Jenkins has been signed to direct the sequel which will be released late 2019. Right now you can watch Wonder Woman save the world on blu-ray and DVD.

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