Hollywood has always been a male-dominated industry, but that’s slowly changing as the world around us pushes towards more equality. For Wonder Woman 1984‘s Patty Jenkins, though, the label of being called a ‘female director’ is a frustrating and reductive one. Obviously, the 49 year-old is a director who’s female, but the prefix is never applied to her male counterparts.
During the development of the first installment, Wonder Woman was frequently referred to as the most expensive movie ever helmed by a woman, while a box office take of $822 million made it both the highest-grossing film directed by a woman and starring a female lead at the time. Both of these statements are factually accurate, but you never saw Avengers: Endgame named as the most successful feature directed by a pair of male siblings, while Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides wasn’t singled out as the costliest production with a man behind the camera.
In a recent interview, Jenkins revealed her frustrations with the tag, one that she believes has seen her pigeonholed despite the success she’s enjoyed as part of the DCEU, and will no doubt continue to experience when she moves on to Star Wars: Rogue Squadron.
“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.”
Thanks to Jenkins, the female-driven superhero blockbuster is now a viable proposition for the studios after Halle Berry’s Catwoman and Jennifer Garner’s Elektra bombing at the box office had put producers off the idea for close to a decade. And while Wonder Woman 1984 might not be pulling in the numbers initially expected due to the continued effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Warner Bros. were clearly happy enough with the movie’s performance to fast-track the third chapter into development just two days after it was released.