Wonder Woman: When Chris Pine met Patty Jenkins

One of the best things to emerge from the aftermath of the Wonder Woman’s release was the creative collaboration between filmmaker Patty Jenkins and star Chris Pine.

Patty Jenkins, director extraordinaire of the first Wonder Woman movie, has broken all kinds of Hollywood stereotypes. Not only was she the first woman to helm a superhero movie in Hollywood. She also made it the first successful hit for the Warner Bros. led DC Universe movies.

Wonder Woman follows the adventures of Diana of Themyscira, an Amazonian warrior princess. Gal Gadot played the titular character in the movie which was supported, in no small parts, by a charismatic Chris Pine. Pine played the role of Steve Trevors, Gadot’s arm candy and an American fighter pilot.

Wonder Woman grossed over $821 million at the box office both in the US and in foreign countries.It also broke all sorts of invisible inhibitions Hollywood had about a woman led superhero movie.

DC’s biggest challenger Marvel has not yet released a movie revolving around a female superhero. Their first such venture is Captain Marvel that will release on March 8, with Brie Larson playing the titular character.

What is I Am The Night

Coming back to Patty Jenkins and Pine, their second collaboration has finally hit television screens. The critically acclaimed drama, I Am The Night, is a six-part mini-series that has debuted on TNT. The series follows the life of a disgraced journalist who all but unmasks the identity of the infamous Black Dahlia murderer.

And Pine plays Jay Singletary, that disgraced journalist. His character finds a way to redeem his career by attaching his life to Fauna Hodel. Based on true events, Fauna Hodel was alleged to be related in some way to the Black Dahlia murderer.

The series gave both Jenkins and Pine an opportunity to flex their artistic muscles and present a well fleshed out commentary on the human condition. While Jenkins has created a bleeding edge series, Pine wonderfully underplays his role of the angst-ridden journalist.

The series is set in 1965 America, just on the cusp of exploding into the socio-economic superpower it has become today. It follows two storylines, albeit unequal, as they merge into one. One is of a teenage Fauna who is desperately trying to piece together parts of her forgotten past. The other is of Singletary, who had ruined his career owing to his chemical support system. He has been reduced to leaking the vile life of the powerful after having lost a growing career.

Speaking about what attracted her to make this series, Jenkins said: “Fauna’s the young, naive character hoping to be somebody in the world and he’s (Pine’s character) somebody who knows he’ll never be anybody in the world and trying to come to terms with that. Where do you go from there? How do you crawl yourself out? What wakes you back up to find the fighter?”

Why they chose to work with each other again?

On his collaboration with Jenkins, Pine says: “I found Patty at a time in my life when I was searching for deeper resonance with the material. It’s about witnessing and being witnessed. As a friend, Patty does that, and as a creator she helps me see aspects of myself that I usually don’t notice.”

After watching just the beginning two episodes, that Jenkins has directed, one can see that Pine perfectly embodies his character. He brings a brutish, roguish charm to a personality that has been outshone by Hollywood leading man archetypes.

On why she chose to collaborate with Pine again, Jenkins said: “He’s this incredibly deep and interesting person… but one who also has the skill set to give you something stupid and superficial that we want. If you say, ‘I want you to sing backwards and then show me the inside of a person who’s facing their life,’ then Chris is like, ‘OK!’”

Both director and actor claim a mutual respect and adoration is the reason for their successful partnership. Pine has even gone on the record and said, “I’m certainly not the greatest actor in the world, but I consider myself someone who has a nice big tool bag.

“And I really like to be directed. [On ‘I Am the Night’] I had very little time to prep, and I said, ‘Look, Patty, give me the steel pillars of this guy, and I’ll start throwing paint on.”

And what drew Jenkins to Pine was that in their first collaboration Wonder Woman, Pine was comfortable not getting the top billing despite being a high profile Hollywood star. “Not many actors have the courage to do that. And I liked that about him,” she said. Even in I Am The Night, Pine plays a similar role.

Who is Patty Jenkins?

The 47-year-old Patricia Lea Jenkins is an American film director and budding screenwriter. Her directorial debut, 2003’s Monster, got Charlize Theron her first and only Oscar.

After a series of almost projects from 2003 to 2015, she signed on to helm Wonder Woman for Warner Bros. But this is not her first superhero movie. She was signed to direct Thor: Dark World in 2011 but had to exit the project owing to creative differences.

Jenkins also has had a successful career in television, even though it was behind the camera. She has been a director for several successful shows like Arrested Development, Betrayal and The Missing. She says this experience prepared her for taking up Wonder Woman.

With 2017’s Wonder Woman, she became the first woman director to handle a movie with a budget over $150 million. After the smashing success of the movie, she became the most commercially successful female director of all time. The crown was previously held by Mamma Mia director, Phyllida Lloyd.

Months after the release of Wonder Woman, it was announced that Jenkins would return to helm the sequel as well. But she did not sign a multiple movie deal when she signed on to do the first, unlike her counterparts. The Monster director says this move helped her negotiate a higher salary, which is at par with her male counterparts.

Jenkins says her dream project is one called I Am Superman that she wishes to direct with Ryan Gosling in the lead. She was earlier to make the same movie but had to decline because of her pregnancy. She still wishes to make the same movie sometime else.

While her show I Am The Night premiered first, she is currently working on another show with husband Sam Sheridan. The show will be a horror series called Riprore which will be available on the video-on-demand service Shudder soon.

The third collaboration: Wonder Woman 1984

Chris Pine and Patty Jenkins have collaborated for the third time on the sequel of their smash hit Wonder Woman. Titled Wonder Woman 1984, it will reunite the critically acclaimed trio of Pine, Jenkins and Gal Gadot.

The ninth installment in the DC Universe was slated to release in 2019 before it was pushed to a 2020 release date. What will be interesting wil be to see how Jenkins plays with Pine’s character, given that he had died in the previous movie.

The movie will follow the travails of Diana (Gadot) as she is embroiled in a war of the wits with the Soviet Union in the 1980s. She is also said to come face-to-face with a formidable foe, Cheetah, which will be played by Kristen Wiig.

Jenkins’ return to direct the sequel was announced at the 2017 San Diego Comic Con by Warner Bros. Also joining the cast for this movie will be Pedro Pascal, Ravi Patel and Gabriella Wilde. Connie Nelson and Robin Wright will also be reprising their roles in the movie.

Hans Zimmer had said that he would stop creating music after Christopher Nolan’s Batman Movies. But it seems like he has been coaxed out of premature retirement because he has agreed to score the next Wonder Woman movie.

On her third collaboration with Pine, Jenkins said: “I love seeing those people’s work evolve when you do get to work together like that,

“It’s not happening out of convenience, nor is it a usual thing that you find people who work together this well. There are 700 movies with male leads that would be great, and Chris could play most of them.