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In case the title didn’t tell you the big news, allow me to reiterate: Michelle MacLaren will be directing the 2017 solo Wonder Woman movie! But wait, there’s more! MacLaren, most well-known for directing episodes of Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones, will also be part of the development stages of the movie, working with the as yet unknown screenwriter(s) to craft the movie from the ground up. And here’s why the news is awesome!

Since WB/DC made the announcement not too long ago that Wonder Woman would indeed be getting a solo film in 2017, following Suicide Squad but prior to Part 1 of the Justice League movie, the question weighing over many a fan-person’s mind was whether or not any women would actually be involved with the movie besides Gal Gadot portraying her on-screen. Not that it was a requirement to have a female director or screenwriter, but given that this would be Wondy’s solo movie, though not her first appearance on the big screen – Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio, and David S. Goyer will be handling that in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – a lot of fans believed the female perspective in filmmaking, still a very underrepresented voice in the action world, would be better suited to 1771250-wonder_woman_40DC’s most recognizable and iconic female superhero. And it seemed WB was finally listening. The short list for Wonder Woman directors included MacClaren as well as The Babadook director Jennifer Kent and Leslie Linka Glatter, director and co-producer for Homeland.

When the rumors began that WB was looking for a female director to helm the film, many lists included pretty much every female director who’s done an action movie within the last decade and beyond. Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for The Hurt Locker (2008), was at the top of most lists with Deep Impact‘s (1998) Mimi Leder and Punisher: War Zone‘s (2008) Lexi Alexander showing up as well. There were also mentions of Twilight director Catherine Hardwick, Rachel Talalay (Tank Girl), and even Julie Taymor (The Tempest, Across the Universe). Alexander seemed to be getting quite a lot of attention, but seemed to have no desire to pursue the project, saying:

“Imagine the weight on my shoulders. How many male superhero movies fail? So now, we finally get Wonder Woman with a female director, imagine if it fails. And you have no control over marketing, over budget. So without any control, you carry the fucking weight of gender equality for both characters and women directors. No way.”

[Source: Fast Company]

Alexander isn’t wrong in her summation of how Hollywood’s standards apply to female lead movies and women in the industry. As far as superhero movies go, Wonder Woman is a big deal and anyone tapped to take the reins on the project is going to be under a huge amount of pressure to get the character and the tone right. Even in this world of instant remakes and reboots, especially where the superhero genre is concerned, the Wonder Woman movie has an added layer of expectation weighing it down. We’ve had umpteenth numbers of Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, and X-Men movies, but Wonder Woman’s debut has a finite quality to it, one that is ultimately relying on the solo film to justify the continued existence of the character outside of team-up movies. Granted, a lot of this is pressure we the fans are putting on the project but it’s as much of a reaction to how female lead movies have been perceived by Hollywood and the failure of pretty much every movie starring a superheroine. WW

The choice of MacLaren to direct and develop Wonder Woman is one of the best decisions made by WB since finally announcing a Wonder Woman movie. Though her background is entirely in television, MacLaren has experience directing and producing within multiple genres. Her work on The X-Files, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones gives her a wide berth of experience, something that can only benefit a character like Wonder Woman. Diana’s backstory involves Greek gods and goddesses, Amazons, and the human element of the modern world. There’s as much action as there is fantasy in her neck of the DC Universe, which MacClaren is exceedingly qualified to pull off.

And with the addition of MacLaren being involved in the development of the film, working with the writers and producers instead of just directing from someone else’s outline, there’s plenty of room for her to really mold the character. Yes, we’ll be seeing Diana in Batman v Superman, but it’s more than likely a glorified cameo, which means the solo film is really where we’ll get to see Gal Gadot hopefully shine and MacLaren’s vision for the character realized. There’s definitely a lot riding on this movie, but it’s good to know that WB has at least put the film in the hands of someone we can all rally behind.

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