Cross-posted from my personal blog.
I've mostly been ignoring Jennifer Love Hewitt's campaign to star in a Wonder Woman movie. Just like I've blown off the rumors and campaigns of people like Jessica Biel, Megan Fox, and Beyonce. It's just not worth having an opinion about until it looks like it might actually happen.
But Nicolas Winding Refn's interest in directing a Wonder Woman is different because he's talking about the kind of story he'd like to tell. I always find it interesting to hear people's takes on what makes Wonder Woman tick and what a good story about her should include.
Refn says that his take would be non-violent (in contrast to the recent, animated Wonder Woman film) and would start from "the whole idea of a woman who is basically more powerful than any man - and who will always be that, and comes from a society of women who are more powerful than men." He adds that that's "an interesting theme that I think can be very contemporary." Absolutely it can, and I'm interested in seeing him explore it.
I also agree with him that one of the biggest challenges in making a Wonder Woman movie is finding the right villain. He thinks a lot about Christopher Nolan's Batman movies and what made them successful:
You need a great, extravagant, marketable action film — and everything that comes with it. But I think that when Christopher Nolan did the Batman movies, I think he very cleverly went back to the source material and took themes that had maybe not been exercised. And he was able to make very good and successful films with them. So I think the audience is very much out there. It’s just how you do it. And I think that some of the films that have worked over the years have worked for different reasons than people sometimes think they do.I'm nervous about the idea of creating a villain specifically for the movie. It could be awesome or completely lame. Maybe it's the way to go, but I'd feel more comfortable knowing that the bad guy was tethered to the comics in some way. The question is: what kind of bad guy does a Wonder Woman movie need and is there anyone in the comics who fits that role?
And where Wonder Woman on one hand is a great female character who can be included in many great fight scenes, she doesn’t have great villains against her. OK, so you create some. She doesn’t have a Joker or those classic Batman kinds of guys.
...you have to create a great countervillain to her ... The trick with Wonder Woman is to find that antagonist who worked so well in the Batman concept — his villains are equally if not more exciting than Batman himself. Here, it’s basically coming up with who would be a great counterpart to Wonder Woman. Is it her mother who’s the real enemy? Something that’s biblical in a sense.
If I was writing the movie, I'd want to focus on Wonder Woman's status as a role-model for women. Since the defeat of the Nazis, her most potent mission in Man's World has been demonstrating the potential that women have to be powerful and confident. Not shoving her power down male throats, because frankly that's not going to teach anyone anything. Wonder Woman's greatest power is to inspire women to find the power in themselves.
So Wonder Woman's villain needs to be someone who threatens her ability to do that. I'm not sure who that is - and that's where I'd love to hear some thoughts from you guys - but it needs to happen in a way that's personal to Wonder Woman and grounded in the real world.
Or am I completely off base? Should Wonder Woman instead be trying to prevent Ares' starting WWIII? Should she defend Paradise Island against a contemporary Hercules? Should she try to prevent an Amazon invasion of Man's World? Should she just battle giant robot scorpions? Or is Circe or Cheetah or Dr. Poison the way to go? (Ooh, Cheetah... I just gave myself a chill thinking about how cool a movie version of Cheetah could be.) What do you think?