We may have to wait three more months (and hopefully not more) until we get to see Wonder Woman 1984, but director Patty Jenkins and several of the women who play the Amazons in the upcoming movie reunited at DC FanDome today to share more of their vision of the ancient all-female civilization.
Jenkins was joined by Amazons Brontë Lavine, Briony Scarlett, Miranda Chambers, Moe Sasegbon, Gwendolyn Smith, Dayna Grant, Jessie Graff, Jade Johnson, and Jenny Pacey (who also served as the cast trainer), along with actor Lilly Aspell (young Diana), costume designer Lindy Hemming, production designer Aline Bonetto, and stunt coordinator Rob Inch.
“I cannot stress how unbelievably hard it is to be one of these Amazons,” Jenkins told moderator Tiffany Smith. “Even in casting it, it’s no small feat. We’re looking for someone who’s an awesome person, who has a great, positive vibe, who’s a great athlete, work ethic…it was so incredibly hard and daunting, and such a hard process, so really these women who are joining us here today are the best of the best in the world.”
Although we haven’t seen the movie yet, the trailers hint at flashbacks to when Diana (Gal Gadot) was a young girl on Themyscira and participating in the formidable Amazon Games.
“What we didn’t get to do in the first movie, which is something that is so famous in the lore of Wonder Woman, is the Amazon Games,” Jenkins explained. “It was so great to see the Amazons at play and competing against each other in a very good-spirited but serious way, to see where people are on archery and horseback riding and all these incredible things. So it was just a blast to see what their games would be like.”
The Amazons in Wonder Woman 1984 are portrayed by a diverse group of women from the United States, England, New Zealand, Finland, and other locales, with a wide range of backgrounds as dancers, actors, models, stuntwomen and, in the case of Jade Johnson, a two-time Olympian.
“It was absolutely amazing and they’re all so lovely,” Aspell said. “I think in real life to be surrounded by these women — as I’m tiny and becoming a woman — they were such role models to me.”
Trainer Jenny Pacey, who also played an Amazon in the first Wonder Woman, gave a glimpse into the kind of effort it took to take this group of already impressive women and turn them into Amazons.
“It was the most incredible and challenging job of my entire life,” she recalled. “We worked in four-week training blocks, ready to reach peak for filming. The first week of training I called ‘Hell Week,’ because it was literally five of the most difficult workouts I’ve ever given anybody. And just before we started filming, I repeated ‘Hell Week’ so that everybody could feel how far they’d come, and how much they’d improved in terms of their strength, their conditioning, their flexibility, and just the way they approached workouts as well.”
“We were training for months,” Scarlett said, “And as amazing as that was, you’re gonna have those days when you’re exhausted or just feeling like, ‘Oh, I don’t know if I can do this workout.’ So music was our best therapy. We would stick on an amazing track, turn up the volume, literally have this dance session going crazy in the gym…it would give us that energy boost and we’d be like, ‘Okay, sisters all together grooving, now we can start the workout.'”
Grant, who is one of the premier stuntwomen in New Zealand, actually teared up when she discussed the relationships that formed between the women in real life during the shoot. “I’ve done so many films over my 20 years and this is the highlight of my career,” she said. “It’s unexplainable, the bond that we had as the Amazons. We’ve stayed really good friends and we had each other’s backs through the whole show. It was beautiful.”
Jenkins wrapped up the panel by acknowledging that bond as well, and praising her actors and other department heads for bringing the Amazons to life in a way that may go even deeper into their mythology than the first film did.
“This was so complex,” she said. “You’re creating a people, a culture, a civilization, a way of life, a way of dressing, a way of doing athletics — we’re bringing to life something that needs to imply a complex history of hundreds and hundreds of years.” Addressing the rest of the cast and crew on the Zoom panel, she added, “I’m so proud of every single one of you and so impressed with the work that each of you did and so happy to be a part of getting to bring out these incredible characters who I hope we see a lot more of.”
Wonder Woman 1984 is now set for release on Christmas Day.
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