On Wonder Woman’s casting

So the role of Wonder Woman has been cast for Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman/Superman (still untitled) film. As expected, there are a lot of strong reactions, primarily regarding Gal Gadot’s physique. Seriously? Beyond the fact that this completely marginalizes Gadot as an actress and a woman, there are these awesome people called personal trainers and dietitians. Yes, Gadot is slim, but she wouldn’t be the first actress (or actor, for that matter) to adapt her shape for a role. Can we focus instead on the fact that she is former military, so she’s got some combat training? Plus, she’s got Amazon height. So plus.

To be honest, I’m more concerned with the fact that Wonder Woman’s first introduction to the silver screen is through her male counterparts and Zack Snyder’s ability to handle Wonder Woman. Like other Wondie fans, I would have preferred a feature film just for her. (And to the people who think her origin is to convoluted or obscure for fans to watch, I’d like to direct you to the latest Thor film.) I’m willing to give this a shot if it means that Wondie gets her own chance at a feature film in the future, but that’s going to partly depend on how she’s played in this film. Much as I like Amy Adams, her Lois Lane was disappointing, particularly in the last half of Man of Steel. What happened to the ballsy journalist who didn’t let anyone stop her? But I digress.

That circles me back to Zack Snyder’s body of work. Simply put, I don’t think he handles female characters well. Remember Sucker Punch? Gorgeous film, like Synder’s other works, but utterly disappointing in terms of character development. It was two hours of the male gaze.

I think this article from the Mary Sue sums up Wonder Woman’s problems with big screen adaption quite well. I completely agree with Lynda Carter’s statement that WW is often written as a female version of a male superhero. That doesn’t work for her. As Gail Simone says, we’re working under a completely new frame of reference with WW. Lynda Carter pulled off an amazing Wonder Woman in the 1970s, but like the rest of the DC universe, she’s changed. In WW’s case, she’s changed many times since the ’70s television show. (Remember that awesome George Perez guy? Or Gail Simone?)

But at the end of the day, I’m optimistic. The reality is that if WW projects keep getting shut down before they have a chance to get started, we’ll only continue the cycle of “WW can never be adapted”. I hope this film does Wonder Woman justice and opens up the door for more female superhero movies, because they’re long overdue.

What are your thoughts on this casting?

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2 thoughts on “On Wonder Woman’s casting

  1. In my opinion, what marginalizes women is the fact that there is only ONE body type allowed on screen, and it is that of the size zero model. As a woman who is naturally athletic, and muscular (5’7 135) , I will never look like that. As a kid, Xena and Wonder Woman were the only female characters that made me feel like I might be beautiful, vs. a “linebacker,” or “manly.” I tried for years to starve my muscle mass away. Women like me are routinely laughed out of casting agent’s office’s, if we ever get the confidence to go in the first place. So you are really going to tell me that fans being upset about giving the ONE role in Hollywood that calls for an athletic, muscular woman (see the comics, or the 2009 movie) to ANOTHER size zero is marginalizing her? When actresses like her get ALL the roles as it is?

    I’m encouraged by the backlash! The fans are taking a stand, and saying one size does NOT fit all!

    1. What I think marginalizes this casting is that the backlash isn’t against Gadot’s acting ability. It’s purely based on her appearance. Affleck at least got the courtesy of being judged on his acting track record. The first reaction this actress gets is “Give her a cheeseburger”. Really not fair. It says that the only thing that matters about being an actress is her appearance. It’s not a judgement of her ability to portray the part, which is what I’m primarily concerned with.

      All that being said, if the fans don’t give Wonder Woman a chance, we’ll NEVER get see another live adaptation. This could be the opportunity for more female superhero flicks, and I’m completely on board with that.

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