Can Lynda Carter Save 'Wonder Woman'?
By DAVID WEINER
September 24, 2013
The timeless Lynda Carter is synonymous with the iconic Wonder Woman of the hit '70s TV show, and she's also a true Wonder Woman in real life, partnering with DC Entertainment's We Can Be Heroes campaign to fight the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa. The character has failed to be rebooted for the big screen time and time again in a very high-profile way, and Lynda tells ET, "They miss the point of Wonder Woman."
For years, Hollywood has been toiling over bringing Wonder Woman back to the mainstream in film or television, with Avengers mastermind Joss Whedon involved at one point, and with a recent series pilot produced by Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley -- and widely ridiculed.
"I think they try to just make her a female version of a male superhero, and that's not what she is," observes Lynda. "She is an Amazon Princess and she's got really strong sisterhood values. She's smart, and she just happens to be beautiful and super strong, and she has these great cool things like these bracelets and boomerang headband and non-lethal kinds of ways of dealing with people. She's just saying, like, 'Get a grip!' all the time. … She slaps the hands of the bad guys."
Short of sitting down as an advisor to a new incarnation of Wonder Woman, Lynda offers, "Maybe they need a female writer who gets it. I've often tried not to say that, but I think it's the truth. It's like, 'Hellooooo guys, get a female that understands what that's all about.' You look at any society that suppresses women, and it's violent. Look around the world. … There's a humanity that they're missing. There's got to be a sweetness, a kindness, a goodness in the character. The rest takes care of itself."
For a specific donation, DC Entertainment is giving one lucky fan (and a plus-one) an opportunity to have a rare-meet-and-greet with Lynda, flying them to New York City on October 25 to join her backstage at her Jazz at Lincoln Center performance at the Allen Room. The package includes accommodations for two nights, plus a tour of the DC Entertainment offices, a Wonder Woman lithograph, a Superman/Wonder Woman T-shirt, an Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia, and a Noir Jewelry Dome Ring and Cuff Bracelet. Cool!
"I have very fond memories [of doing the show]," says Lynda. "I loved the character. I loved her, and so when DC Comics called me and said, 'Hey, would you be willing to be a part of this thing,' I thought, 'That sounds great.'"
Wonder Woman ran for three seasons, from 1975 to 1979, on ABC and then CBS. Before the show was a pop-culture hit, Lynda remembers that naysayers thought portraying Wonder Woman on television was going to go against the tide of the women's liberation movement.
"People were cautioning me. [They would say], 'Women are not going to like you,' and, 'Boy, it's going to be hard,'" remembers Lynda. "But I wasn't brought up that way. I was determined to create a character that thought of herself as just a regular person; she wasn't all up about herself, and she just happened to have these powers, but she wasn't impressed with herself. I think that's probably was what the key to it is: You can't really play a superhero – if someone's trying to act heroic in normal acting, it would be like a cartoon."
She adds of the perception of the character, "She was empowered. They were very worried about too strong of a Women's Lib message, but it's implied anyway. You don't need to pound someone over the head with [the dialogue]. Understatement can be very powerful."
Looking back at that spectacular – and spectacularly revealing – star-spangled costume, Lynda laughs: "What I think is, 'She looks goooood.' Oh my god, I totally took it for granted."
These days, Lynda is full steam ahead with her music career and that Jazz at Lincoln Center concert happening next month, part of the DC Entertainment: We Can Be Heroes - Justice League Edition package. Her latest album is called Crazy Little Things, "Because I just threw in all the stuff I wanted to sing. … My background is blues and country, I grew up in Arizona and those were the two biggest influences." She adds of her live shows, "I don't do just a bunch of songs that were your parent's songs. I will do songs from my era or your era." Lynda plays all sorts of tunes, from standards to even a Black Keys cover: "Some I do very similar to the way they did it, but most I do a very different take on it." She's been known to play the Wonder Woman theme!
"I'm thrilled to be working on my music. I don't take it for granted," she says. Knocking on wood, she adds proudly, "We have never had one performance where we didn't have a standing ovation, because we have so much fun on stage and it's such a team effort, this band I have [of Nashville superstar musicians]."
As for her Wonder Woman fame, the 62-year-old star has very much come to terms with her lifetime association with the character, and she even shared her excitement over seeing a Wonder Woman bobble head made in her image.
"Having a bobblehead made after you is like the ultimate compliment," she says enthusiastically. "I thought, 'God, I've really made it if I've got a bobble head with my little face on it.' I was very excited about it. I mean, I've had dolls and everything, but I've never had a bobble head!"