Director Patty Jenkins reveals that she almost walked away from helming Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman 1984 because of issues over unfair compensation.
Wonder Woman 1984 almost lost Patty Jenkins as its director. Helming 2017’s hit Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince, the filmmaker returned to the DCEU via its sequel, which makes sense, considering how well the first film did. That said, that wasn’t going to be the case if they weren’t able to hash out payment issues.
Set in the 1980s, Wonder Woman 1984 will find Diana at the height of the Cold War between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. There, she is faced with two new adversaries in Barbara Ann Minerva/Cheetah and Maxwell Lord. Chris Pine is also returning as Steve Trevor despite his death in the original film — something that will be a focal point in the sequel. Despite numerous delays and a controversial release scheme, Wonder Woman 1984 sounds worth all the wait and hassle as reviews for the film have been generally positive. But things could’ve turned out differently had Jenkins walked away from the blockbuster.
During a recent interview on the Happy Sad Confused podcast as part of the press rounds for Wonder Woman 1984, the director revealed that she almost left the project. This decision stemmed from problems with proper compensation. In the interview, she said she recognized the leverage she had considering how successful Wonder Woman was for Warner Bros.
“I started to walk away. I was gonna’ walk away. I even said I’d be happy to go to another studio and make a quarter as much because it’s not a sequel, on principle, no problem. It’s interesting as someone who never made any profit in my career up until Wonder Woman, that I was always at peace with it. I was like, ‘Hey I get it.’ But now I was like, ‘Listen, I never made any money in my career because you always had the leverage and I didn’t,’ but now the shoe is on the other foot so it’s time to turn the tables.”
The first Wonder Woman was the fourth film from the DCEU following Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, and David Ayer’s The Suicide Squad. It was the second outing for Gadot as Diana Prince and tackled her origins as the Amazonian Goddess who was roped into the real world during World War I. There’s an argument to be made about how the 2017 film breathed new life into the franchise which had released mainly divisive films until that point. Granted that the DCEU still had issues after Wonder Woman with Justice League, it convinced people that there was potential in the Warner Bros. comic book film universe. Wonder Woman was the first true critically and financially successful DCEU movie and it remains the gold standard — something that may be surpassed by Wonder Woman 1984.
Given all this, good on Jenkins for realizing the power she had and using it to her advantage. While her official compensation has never been revealed, it’s been reported that she earned thrice what she did on Wonder Woman for doing Wonder Woman 1984. Considering what she was able to do in the first film and how the sequel is shaping up to be another crowd darling, she deserves it. As for Warner Bros., it’s money well-spent.