Monday, November 22, 2010
Is it really that hard to find the right Wonder Woman?
With the recent resurgence of interest in Hollywood for bringing DC Comic heroes back to the big screen,you would think that Wonder Woman would at least be in mid-production right now. However,the lady is still waiting in the wings for a live action film.
There's talk about starting up another WW TV series helmed by David Kelley but I honestly don't see the guy who gave us Allie McBeal and her creepy dancing baby as the one to do justice towards properly depicting the Amazonian Princess for any screen,big or small.
Something tells me that my nightmares about a whiny yuppie version of Diana Prince who turns into a super heroine even campier than Adam West ever was are shared by many out there.
A major obstacle seems to be in the casting;Joss Whedon recently talked to Entertainment Weekly regarding the hold-up for the Wonder Woman movie and his ideal actress for the part was Angelina Jolie. While I can see his reasons for that,Jolie is too big a star to slip into that part without overwhelming it with her unique brand of celebrity charisma.
The best options for casting any iconic superhero/fantasy character in a live action format are either one of the following;an unknown talent who can make the part his or her own,as Christopher Reeve did for Superman and Daniel Radcliffe in the Harry Potter series,or a gifted character actor that can embody the role and not overtake it(Christian Bale's Batman and Michael Chiklis' The Thing come readily to mind). In the second category,there are many fine actresses out there who could be perfect for this part and here are a few that should be given serious consideration:
Even for those of us not familiar with the Terry Goodkind books upon which the sadly canceled Legend of the Seeker syndicated series was based upon,it was crystal clear that the role of Kahlan Amnell,the Confessor sworn to guide the Seeker on his mission to save their world from the forces of evil was a pivotal part of the story.
Bridget Regan made that character come to life for old fans and new,bringing more that just a pretty face and sweet fighting skills to the part. Her biggest strength is in the sincerity she gives to the character,never resorting to cheesy antics or a wink and nudge lilt to her performance. In that,Regan shares an affinity with Lynda Carter,the standard bearer for Wonder Woman,and can be easily seen as a worthy contender for that throne:
Harder for some to imagine is Tabrett Bethell,another LOTS regular,as the ultimate female super hero since she's best known as a villain. Her character,Mord Sith Cara,on the series veneered back and forth between both sides of the moral coin during the second season and nearly lost her inner battle towards the end.
However,Bethell was able to make Cara more than just a one dimensional supporting player and just as convincing during her brief moments of triumph over her darker nature as she was in unleashing it. Yes,she's a blonde but that's what hair dye is for,folks. What is most important is the blend of strength and vulnerability that Bethell can bring to the table here:
As Elena,the girl caught in the middle of a centuries long rivalry between blood drinking brothers in The Vampire Diaries,Nina Dobrev has proven herself to be a credible heroine so far. Many fans of the various vampire romance series these days have even expressed more admiration for her character and her resolve to retain her humanity despite having an immortal beloved than a certain Ms. Swan.
While that is a debate for another day,Dobrev certainly has the right phyiscal features and strong persona to be Diana Prince as well as Wonder Woman. Her acting range for the current season of TVD has been nicely stretched as Dobrev is playing both Elena and her lookalike vampire ancestress Katherine,with several scenes of each one facing off on the other openly. With such a knack for duel roles,Dobrev seems to be a smart choice,particularly if a younger version of WW is preferred:
With her frequent guest appearances as Lois Lane in the fourth season of Smallville,Erica Durance has made a formidable impression on the series and with Superman fans. It's no surprise that she has become a regular cast member since the fifth season and not only due to the importance of her character in the show's mythology.
Durance has the smarts and persistence necessary to make Lois Lane go beyond the typical "girlfriend who needs to be saved" mode that such a role can fall into. Over time, her stint on Smallville has served her well and it's really not that hard to see Durance as a member of the caped and cowled set there. She's proven herself capable of being a tough cookie with a sweet side for love that doesn't allow for unwarranted compromise. If anyone can throw down with the big boys in the Justice League,it is this lady right here and now:
Casting is not the only problem in adapting Wonder Woman,as Joss Whedon also pointed out-the lack of a central city,her origin story is set during WWII and a lesser known rogues' galley. However,these difficulties can be creatively overcome.
City? Make it Washington,D.C-that is where the first season of the 70's series placed her and it's a good fit. Origin story update? Have Diana arrive to America as the ambassador for her Amazonian homeland,newly discovered by the outside world.
Villains? Well,one of her major opponents in the comics has been Ares,the Greek god of War who could make for an interesting big screen bad guy and in various animated outings,Wonder Woman has gone up against the Cheetah and Circe(another Greek supernatural type). Not to mention on the Super Friends,she fought Darkseid on occasion and he's certainly a major player in the DC Evil Doers cannon.
Basically,what I'm trying to say is that making a viable Wonder Woman movie is a challenge but it is one that can be met. All it truly takes is the right combination of artistic folk and the will to see it out to completion. Wonder Woman deserves to have her Hollywood shot at the brass ring,as much as Batman and Superman have been given over the decades(despite their various failed attempts along side their successes).
A TV series is all well and good,but the time has come for Wonder Woman to truly take the pop culture world by cinematic storm and whoever does honor this legendary warrior maiden will have all others in the field scrambling to bring more comic book divas to a cineplex near you. Hopefully,we won't have to wait until another millennium to realize that dream:
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