Maybe it’s the invisible jet? Wonder Woman has been soaring as a pop culture icon since the Roosevelt era but she can’t get on Hollywood’s radar when it comes to a solo silver-screen adventure. This summer’s Man of Steel gives Superman his eighth feature film (tying him with Batman) but Wonder Woman is stuck at zero and at this point her best IMDB prospect is a gal-pal supporting role in the shaky-sounding Justice League movie.
We took the topic to filmmaker Kristy Guevara-Flanagan (Going on 13) whose documentary Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines is airing next week on PBS and has been the subject of community screenings around the country.
Entertainment Weekly: Superman and Batman will have 16 movies between them by the end of this summer and Wonder Woman can’t lasso a movie deal. The Losers, Elektra and Howard the Duck reached the big screen, how come Diana Prince doesn’t rate?
Kristy Guevara-Flanagan: Hollywood seems to be hesitant to bank on a movie with a woman as the lead. Hopefully something like Hunger Games will change the perception that movies about women don’t make money. There’s also a challenge find a director that will be true to the material but still bring it to life in a way that will appeal to a broad audience. Joss Whedon did a good job with that on The Avengers. Since a lot of people have a hard time defining who Wonder Woman is beyond the costume — that presents a challenge.
Everyone seems to agree that Wonder Woman is a symbol but good luck getting any sort of consensus on what it is that she symbolizes. What do you see as the simple answer to that complicated question?
Guevara-Flanagan: Despite the many changes Wonder Woman has undergone, essentially she remains a symbol of power mixed with compassion. In recent years her war-like side has been played up, but the reader still gets the sense that her values are still good and benevolent. She doesn’t talk about it as much.
What would you say is the most affirming thing you see in Wonder Woman’s most recent portrayals?
Guevara-Flanagan: A lot of longtime readers feel the current Wonder Woman has been stripped of most her better qualities, which happen to be her more feminine qualities. At this point she’d probably more true to the ancient Greek version of what an Amazon was — which wasn’t all that nice. Wonder Woman still remains incredibly strong and dedicated to pursuing a noble goal. She doesn’t back down, doesn’t take no for an answer. She just doesn’t smile that often.
Going through a stack of Wonder Woman comics from her first 30 years there’s plenty of romance stories but maybe a third of the suitors are monsters, sentient gorillas or Far Side aliens. What’s that all about?
Guevara-Flanagan: It seems as though writers over the years have had a hard time figuring out what type of love interest Wonder Woman should have. Once you’ve tried Superman and Batman and various Olympian gods, you may as well give a gorilla or a giant amoeba from space a shot.