Wonder Woman 1984 director Patty Jenkins is arguably the most in-demand female filmmaker in Hollywood right now. But that title comes with its own asterisk, namely the fact that Hollywood still insists on seeing female directors as a somewhat special breed, distinct from male filmmakers, who don't need any gender qualifiers when describing their profession. In an interview with EW, Jenkins admitted that she is definitely bothered by the fact that the world still insists on seeing her as a "female director" instead of just a director.
"I definitely mind. It has been a huge drag. But at the same time I'm so proud to be any step in changing that conversation, so I feel both at all times. The side of me that's involved in any way with making change I'm proud of. The side of me that's being held back by being a woman director first is a drag. Every movie I make may have a female lead coincidentally, but I don't make "women's movies." I'm just making movies for everybody that might have female leads, you know? And so the world is slowly coming around."
Jenkins first rose to fame directing Charlize Theron in the 2003 psychodrama Monster, which won the Best Actress Oscar for its leading lady. Jenkins' next major project was 2017's Wonder Woman, which again centered around a female figure in a male-dominated genre. According to Jenkins, the fact that Hollywood insists on believing that females need a separate category of filmmakers and films is what had prevented the superhero genre from embracing superheroines in the past, until Wonder Woman came along.
"I'm also baffled by the whole phenomenon because for years before Wonder Woman I was saying 'Does anybody notice that 70 percent of the box office is female?" And nobody even talks about it! So frankly I was thrilled that the first movie was a success, but that there's a huge female audience I wasn't surprised at all: "Well, yeah." [Laughs] The reason that she's the sensation that she is is from the original comic book is because she's a woman. She's not a woman who's like a man. She's beautiful and loving and vulnerable and kind and soft and always was. Lynda [Carter] did such a great job at that, and Gal has done such a great job of preserving it."
While Hollywood has recently seen a slew of new female directors take center stage, they are still mostly relegated to telling stories about female protagonists, from Captain Marvel and Black Widow to Mulan, while male directors get their pick of scripts featuring both male and female leads. But as Jenkins points out, things are slowly changing, as evidenced by the fact that she has been put in charge of the next live-action Star Wars movie titled Rogue Squadron.
Directed and co-written by Patty Jenkins, Wonder Woman 1984 stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, Pedro Pascal, and Natasha Rothwell. The film is out now in theaters and on HBO Max. This news originated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.