Lynda Carter is a Superhero Once Again in Sky High
The former Wonder Woman is the principal at Sky High. Sky High
She's the greatest female superhero in history - Wonder Woman. And now, Lynda Carter is back as a superhero comet in her new movie Sky High. She plays Principal Powers at the school for kids of superheroes. And she's also starring in another summer film, The Dukes of Hazzard, with another bombshell, Jessica Simpson. Lynda gave us the inside scoop on her relationship with Jessica as well as playing a superhero again. Check out the whole interview:
How does it feel to know that all the men on the set, at one time or another, had a crush on you?
Lynda Carter: Oh, that's just generic with every male.
Do you always get that?
Lynda Carter: You know, I figured this out very early on in the Wonder Woman saga that she was striking a cord with people, and people love telling me their stories. And for 30 years, people have been telling me their stories and I listen.
What's the weirdest story someone has ever told you?
Lynda Carter: It wasn't a story, it was hearing a bunch of people in the corner of a room. And you can tell sometimes (mumbling) ‘Oh, that's her, that's Lynda Carter.' There was a guy, who weighed about 250 pounds, Redneck fella, twirling in the corner. I went ‘Oooh, that's a bit peculiar. But I have gotten some great stories over the years and you know, I love her too. I've never been afraid of embracing her and for some reason it surprises people. Not that I really have a choice; you know, I could either spend my life miserable trying to tell people (in a grumpy voice) ‘Oh, don't mention Wonder Woman' or I could say ‘Oh yeah, it's cool.' And I had a lot – you know, she really saved my life in so many ways. I had been - I was happiest on the set at that time during that time in my life. I wasn't happy going home and so she really was a life saver in so many ways for me. And she gave me my career and I'm hear today because of Wonder Woman. I had a really wonderful life and career and have had so many opportunities to do tv specials and sing, make music and all kinds of things, play a lot of heroine roles. Now, in this time in my life, I'm not so interested in playing the same tv movie again about toxic waste or anorexic children, raper, all these type of movies, you know, that I've done 50 of them. And it's the right time for my age of kind of going out of the box, you know, stepping out of the box and doing The Vagina Monologues, I'm doing Law and Order as a grafter, playing a principle, doing Dukes of Hazzard and playing a Southern woman. Now, it's really starting to get interesting.
What's Dukes of Hazzard like being with Jessica Simpson? She talks about being empowering.
Lynda Carter: When I was with Jessica, I saw myself with kind of being terrified; it was her first movie and feeling safe with all your people behind you. She was very hard working and very professional and very serious about her comedic role. Being around all these iconic people, like Willy [Nelson] and Burt [Reynolds] and all these actors who have done all these glorious things over the years and these two out of control guys, you know, Johnny [Knoxville] and Seann William [Scott], she handled herself very well. But I did see a lot of myself in terms of you don't have any time to do the work you want to do and then everything around you is kind of spinning. The only safe haven is the group of people you travel around with and you're busy all the time. You kind of get engrossed in it cause it doesn't give a chance to interact and it'll pass as she does it more. I stopped taking a thousand people with me. I've often said, when somebody gets famous, there ought to be in one of the SAG bi-lines they're required to go to therapy (laughter). Cause it is so dizzying and after you've done it for a while, you're grateful to be working and it's all about the work.
Where do you see yourself today?
Lynda Carter: I'm more comfortable in my own skin, I don't need to be a size two. I try to eat healthy and do the right things so I don't look like a drag in two years. All the stuff we're all doing and fighting it every step of the way.
Did you see a sign in her (Jessica) that reminded you?
Lynda Carter: You know, it wasn't so much a negative sign, it was just a part of the process; I want to be clear on that, it is not a criticism, and the people who were with her were really wonderful and it's just that it's your safe place and I would never venture to tell her what to do with that kind of thing. But I did tell her a little story about self, and other people's perceptions and how it screws up your own perception of yourself because that's what you think you're supposed to be and it's difficult. And I can remember doing that coming across a picture a few years ago and saying to myself ‘I look great in that dress!' And I can remember walking around in Georgetown (Washington DC area) and thinking to myself ‘Oh my gosh, I look so fat, I shouldn't be wearing this dress.' And I looked good! (lots of laughter). But I remember thinking that somehow that's the only way that people see you instead of stopping and you're so busy that there's almost no time to stop and say ‘What do I, Lynda, like or don't like, or want to be. You know, it's tough to really identify that. Now, a lot of that is just maturity and having kids and living a life and watching these kids in Sky High was a little bit the same way. That was kind of like a walk down memory lane with stars in your eyes.
Did you dress your character in this?
Lynda Carter: I did! (lots of laughter) I walked into the designer, he was a great designer, you've seen the movie, the costumes are great. I wish I had that kind of stuff, it makes you look great no matter what! And I'm kind of looking for my character and it was under a book, or something. He pulls it out and it's the short shoes, and tweed thing, and the little bun, and the glasses and this is before; he had drawn it before I was ever cast. I said ‘Eh, I kind of have something else in mind, what do you think about the extreme opposite - stiletto heels, expensive great looking suits that are fit for perfection, still principle, but powerful power suits. And he said (in a sultry way) ‘I love it!' We went to the director, Mike Mitchell kind of looked at me, kind of looked at Andrew Gunn, and he said ‘Yeah, tell me a little more about that.' I said ‘She's the principal of this high school, and she can't be a shrimp and you cast me! It's me, it's not just someone else, it's me! So, I say let's just bomb her out. Those kids are shakin' in their boots when they see her walkin' down the hall, they can feel the vibration, and she's a comet!' And so he let me change her whole kind of thread of her character from that point building on that on up, even up until the last scene we wrote on set.
Can you talk about who your character is?
Lynda Carter: She is a comet; she chooses to also be a principal of this high school. See, I'm already thinking about the sequel here. ‘Principal Powers in Sky…' No, (laughter) that's what she is. She's controlled, so when she pulls herself out of this comet and into this principal, it's just like ‘Don't mess with me' and she's kind and she's got all knowledge and she's got everything going, she's got a little sense of humor about herself. She's a complete female, but she's all female and she's not going to take any guff off of these little rat kids, and she loves them too.
Does it feel any vindication from your life's work that now super hero movies are the dominant genre of pop culture?
Lynda Carter: I know, It's very – I wish there were more. I was happy to see girls represented in this super hero thing all the way through.
You've had such an amazing longevity in this career, how have you kept it going for so long?
Lynda Carter: Well, I don't live here (Los Angeles); I live in Washington DC, which I think helps a lot. And I have a very regular life, no make-up and jeans, and kids, they keep you humble. Oh my gosh, particularly as teenagers they think you're about nothing and you get dumber every year and all that stuff. It's kind of a nice breath of fresh air to come here (in a high pitch servant voice) ‘Ms. Carter, can I get you this, Ms. Carter, can I get you that' ‘Jeez, this is kind of cool.
Who would you cast as Wonder Woman, because they haven't been able to make a movie with someone as perfect as you? Could you see Catherine Zeta Jones?
Lynda Carter: No, they're all too old, that whole group is too old. It should be an unknown or not a really famous person and about 20 [years old] and with a Sandra Bullock-like quality where she's approachable and that you get her immediately. She knows you and you know her and it's not about guys falling all over themselves cause she would just totally whack them upside their head and say ‘Get a grip!' That's what I want for her; I want her to be great. I want to pass the baton and want her to be wonderful and fabulous.
Have you been approached for a cameo?
Lynda Carter: No, I haven't.
Whose idea was it to have her say the line, ‘Who do you think I am, Wonder Woman?'
Lynda Carter: It was actually Mike Mitchell. We were trying to do stuff for, trying to give her a nod. And Warner Bros. wouldn't let us get away with, you know, wear bracelets, to have a lasso on her thing. I couldn't get away with it. At the end, he said, ‘Let's just as an alternative ending, let's just try it.' And it went through, so I heard it got a laugh.
What were you like in high school?
Lynda Carter: I was the nerd. I was the big, tall girl with all the little shrimpy boys. I only had three dates in high school, and it was with the same guy. He would ask me for every prom and that was the only time he would ever ask me out. And I've never seen him since.
You can see Lynda, as well as some other Hollywood royalty - Kurt Russell and Kelly Preston - in Sky High when it opens July 29th. It's rated 'PG.'