EXCLUSIVE: Patty Jenkins Talks 'Wonder Woman' Sequel, Oscar Buzz and Female Action Films
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Wonder Womanis the highest-grossing live-action film directed by a woman, but for director Patty Jenkins, her movie is about so much more than that.
“It’s actually been interesting seeing peoples’ reactions to this,” Jenkins tells ET while promoting the film’s upcoming digital home release. “Particularly women coming up and saying, ‘That action scene was made for me! I don’t even like action movies!’”
The superhero film starring Gal Gadot as the titular Amazon warrior was a hit with men and women alike, a rare feat for a comic book-inspired production.
“There is something about this movie that felt like it was speaking to [women] more than they had seen before because of the point of view being slightly different. I think that has been remarkable,” Jenkins gushes.
And with worldwide box office earnings exceeding $800 million and an impressive 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Jenkins has every reason to feel proud.
“It’s wonderful, it’s what you hope for,” Jenkins says of the film’s financial and critical success. “You work so hard on [films] for so long, everybody that makes them hopes for success in every way they can possibly get it. So it’s felt very lucky and incredible to get both.”
The film has even garnered Academy Awards buzz, which could make it the first superhero film to receive a best picture nomination at the Oscars.
“It’s an amazing honor,” Jenkins says. “It was never what we thought. You don’t make a movie like this assuming it would happen so, wow, it is an honor.”
The film has made Gadot, who had previously been an ensemble member of the Fast and the Furious franchise, and Jenkins, who made her feature directorial debut with 2003’s Monster, household names. But beyond that, it has also opened the door for future female-directed action films.
Lucy Davis, who plays comic relief Etta in Wonder Woman, hopes one day it won’t even be a topic of discussion that a woman is directing a successful film.
“I hope moving forward now we get to say there are opportunities for everyone if you want them and we don’t have to now focus on it,” Davis reflects.
Davis, famous for playing Dawn on Ricky Gervais’ The Office, admits she didn’t even realize the magnitude of having a female director at first.
MORE: Patty Jenkins Fires Back at James Cameron's 'Wonder Woman' Comments
“When I heard Patty was directing Wonder Woman I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, the director of Monster, what an amazing movie!’” Davis admits, reflecting on the film that earned Charlize Theron an Oscar for portraying serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
“That’s what excited me. I didn’t think about the woman bit until we began the movie!” Davis adds.
While promoting Monster, Jenkins told ET in 2003, “For me, a first-time director, it’s been difficult and surreal and hard to cross these bridges for the first time, but it’s also been incredible.”
In the 14 years since, Jenkins says that feeling has not changed much despite expanding into TV, directing episodes of Arrested Development, Entourage and The Killing, the latter of which earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination, as well as the Lifetime film Five.
“The movie that I saw in my head both times was a very difficult thing to achieve both times,” Jenkins says of then and now. “It’s surreal that it worked out both times.”
The 46-year-old director, who had her first child with husband Sam Sheridan in between her two feature films, teases that she would love to work with Theron again.
“I always want to reunite with her, I’m shocked that we haven’t,” Jenkins says.
While she has no comment on possibly directing Theron as a female James Bond (a rumor started by Theron’s TheHunstman co-star Chris Hemsworth), she is confident a reunion will happen eventually.
MORE: 'Woman Woman 2' Will Make Patty Jenkins the Highest Paid Female Director in Hollywood
“We left our partnership on Monster planning on doing many more things together, and we had such a great experience; I can’t wait to work with her again and I’m sure we will,” Jenkins promises.
Before that can happen, Jenkins is reuniting with Wonder Woman star Chris Pine on the TNT miniseries One Day She’ll Darken -- one of many projects she hopes that will allow her to continue working with her recent stars -- and is reportedly negotiating a return to the Wonder Woman franchise to helm the sequel.
Details are scarce about the highly anticipated sequel that Jenkins is working on with producer Geoff Johns, who oversees the DC Universe for Warner Bros, but the director did share what she hopes to explore the second time around.
“The greatest thing about making this movie was the fact that you’re really building to the Wonder Woman that we all love, but not until the end of the movie,” Jenkins reflects. “The most exciting thing about [the sequel] is literally seeing her loose in the world now, living those classic stories.
“Here’s Wonder Woman, and what can she do?” Jenkins adds. “It should be a totally different movie, but a grand and now full-blown Wonder Woman in the world.”
Wonder Woman will be released digitally on Aug. 29, with physical copies to follow on Sept. 19. The sequel is set to hit theaters on Dec. 13, 2019.