Prior to Mania's screening of Warner Brothers' new animated movie 'Wonder Woman', we had a chance to sit down and chat with some of the talent behind the movie. Director Lauren Montgomery, writer Michael Jelenic, and producer Bruce Timm were all eager to tell us about the Amazon warrior woman's first feature length film!
The first person we talked to was Michael Jelenic who wrote the screenplay for this film.
Q: What’s it like bringing this iconic character in to a full length feature film?
Jelenic: You know, Wonder Woman is a difficult character, I think one of the biggest challenges is there isn’t really a definitive version. Does she fly, or does she use the invisible jet? Is she as strong as Super Man, or is she just as strong as the other Amazons? There’s a check list that I have to go down and determine what her character is. I wanted this to be a Wonder Woman that was accessible to everyday people. I put in the lasso, and I also put in the invisible jet. From a story point of view the invisible jet is more iconic. I don’t mind that she doesn’t fly, but apparently I should!
Q: Is it difficult being a man and writing for a female character?
Jelenic: It can be really difficult. If fans don’t like your interpretation of Batman, then you just suck as a writer, if they don’t like your interpretation of Wonder Woman then you’re sexist. It can be very daunting. I read the message boards, and people see her not flying and they think it’s a deliberate choice to de-power her. Of course, that’s not my intentions, but they don’t see that. As far as writing for a female character, as long as you know what the motivations are then it’s not so difficult. If you watch the movie, all the major characters have specific motivations. So that’s what guides the voice.
Q: What do you think makes Wonder Woman such an iconic character?
Jelenic: Well, different parts of her fan base find her iconic for different reasons. Some people feel for her because she’s isolated from the world, much like we were when we were teenagers. And they want to go out and see the world. And now I see her as an icon because she was so revolutionary when it came out.
Q: Do you have a lot of back and forth with Bruce and Lauren when you were writing this?
Jelenic: Definitely, you know, I like to push things when I’m writing. Like one scene that’s in the movie is an extended fight scene that ends up in a strip club, and I thought that was funny, and ironic. Lauren and Bruce disagreed, and thought it was sexist, but that was part of the humor. Especially with the way she dresses. It is in the novelization. There’s also a hospital scene that wasn’t working, so Lauren took a pass, and I took another pass.
Then Director Lauren Montgomery came by to talk about her role in working on the film.
Q: Are you a Wonder Woman fan?
Montgomery: Yes, because she was the only iconic female character. I didn’t really follow the comic book, but I’m a big fan of Bruce’s past work.
Q: What drew you to animation?
Montgomery: Growing up I was a big fan of animation. And even as I got older I still had to rush home to watch Batman. I never really grew out of my like for animation.
Q: Were you nervous not having 100% control with the voice recording?
Montgomery: Well, not as much, I mean me and Bruce were there the whole time giving notes. So we still have lots of input.
Q: What makes Bruce such a good choice for this movie?
Montgomery: Well, Bruce knows what he’s doing. You know, I’ve always loved his work, even when he makes a call that trumps me, I let it go, he knows it a little better then me. He really knows how to make a Wonder Woman movie, and make it stay true to the character.
Q: Was there a scene you wish you could’ve included?
Montgomery: Was [Mike] talking about the strip club scene? He’s still mad at me for cutting that. He’s really crazy, I mean why make that scene longer?
Finally, the man you’ve all been waiting for, renowned animation creator/producer Bruce Timm stopped by.
Q: You’ve dealt with Wonder Woman before. How is this Wonder Woman different?
Timm: By the nature of this being an origin story she’s a little bit younger then she was in Justice League, and Keri Russell’s voice was a little more contemporary. She doesn’t sound as regal as some of the other Amazons. At first we weren’t sure that it was working, but it did, in that Dianna was the only one that didn’t have a life before Paradise Island. She’s the only one that doesn’t know what the outside world is like.
Q: Is this connected to the other DC Universe animated movies?
Timm: It’s a standalone movie; we try to think of all these movies as standalone. There might a crossover at some point in the future, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it.
Q: What do you think makes Wonder Woman Appealing?
Timm: Ya know, god if I know. It’s tough, she’s a paradox among super heroes. When it comes to what makes her tick there’s nothing to really follow. It’s tough to find what makes Wonder Woman Wonder Woman. It’s the same thing if you’d asked me about Batman. She’s strong, and smart, that’s a paradox in itself. You also have to walk a fine line, you have to avoid being sexist.
Q: Was it your decision to work on Wonder Woman, or DC, or both?
Timm: It was certainly a collaboration. DC wanted to do it, I wanted to do it, and surprisingly Warner Home Video REALLY wanted to do it.
Q: What do you think about premiering in front of a live audience like this?
Timm: I love doing it here. Audiences at these conventions are here to enjoy it, they’re very forgiving, I’ve been to premiers where they don’t go over so well, but I’m sure you’ll all enjoy them.
Unfortunately Timm and crew were very tight lipped as to what the next DC Universe project might be. But, if you’re ready to see Wonder Woman then mark March 3rd on your calendar and head out to buy it! Stay tuned to Mania for any announcements regarding DC’s next animated film.