Patty Jenkins is the American-born director who burst onto the scene with 2003’s Monster, starring Charlize Theron as serial killer Aileen Wuornos. After directing episodic television, she returned to the movies with 2017’s Wonder Woman. She’s now back with the first sequel of her career, Wonder Woman 1984, starring Gal Gadot as the DC Comics heroine.
ASFF: When did you first start thinking about Wonder Woman 1984?
PJ: It was kind of interesting. As we were finishing the first film, maybe a little earlier than that … we were all having such a great time as friends making the film that I found myself thinking, “Wow, I would think I would be exhausted and sick of this. But actually, I’m really frustrated by what I didn’t get to do with Wonder Woman and this whole great group of people.” And so really, we spent the entire first film creating Wonder Woman, [but] she’s only Wonder Woman in the last scene of the movie. So I found myself really craving doing a movie about Wonder Woman, now a full-blown Wonder Woman! And then I started reflecting on what I felt…what was going on in our world and what Wonder Woman would want to say to the world, and the story came out of that.
ASFF: This time around, was there something that you truly wanted to explore about what Wonder Woman represents?
PJ: Yeah, definitely. I think the first film, like I said, it was about the birth of Wonder Woman and what Wonder Woman goes on to stand for in the world, which is that she’s actually really trying to teach. She’s trying to teach everyone she encounters how to be their better self and trying to help mankind to be better. The last one was her discovery of humanity. Now how does she live within humanity? And by the way, she’s not perfect either. [She has] her own struggles and journey to do the right thing, which is so universal to all of us. Like being a hero is not an easy thing. It’s actually a super difficult thing. So that I was really interested in too – what does it feel like?
ASFF: Can you talk about the fight scene between Wonder Woman and Cheetah and how that came together?
PJ: Sure. Yeah, I can say there were quite a few scenes that were unbelievably complex. But this was one of them. Because we had to build that entire space. We designed what we wanted something to feel like and look like and what the moves were. And there was no stage big enough in the world, so we had to build the stage. And then we had Cirque du Soleil performers, practising and showing us what things are going to look like. And so it was incredible.
ASFF: How did you conceive of their fight?
PJ: I think Gal and I were talking about this from the very start … it’s not about punching in the face. They’re both trying to literally get the other one under control. I think Cheetah’s got worse intentions than that. But narratively, it was fascinating. And then how it would work spatially was fascinating. And then executing it was long and laborious and wild. But also exciting, because you would see the moves and be like, ‘Whoa, that’s so awesome!’
ASFF: What object dress or song would you take with you from the 1980s?
PJ: Little Red Corvette [by Prince]. I didn’t think about it just now. I just remember being so obsessed with that song, of that period of time. Also I’m just like coming of age. So I was like, “What is this magic of attraction and hotness and edge and coolness?”
Wonder Woman 1984 is available in cinemas from 16 December. For more details click here.