Wonder Woman’s Surprising Back Story Has a Film of Its Own

And after I directed my first feature, an actor friend gave me a wrap gift, which was this history of Wonder Woman. There was a chapter on the Marstons, and it was just one chapter in her very long history, but I was like, wait, what?

What did you most connect with in the Marston story?

There was this incredible love story at the origin of what Wonder Woman would come to be. The Marstons were psychologists, and they really thought that if you could change hearts and minds, you could change the world. Marston called Wonder Woman “psychological propaganda” to try to get young boys and men to respect powerful women and find their power attractive. And he had this notion that if women ran the world, the world would be a better place.

The Wonder Woman aspect of the story seems an easy sell. But the kink and the three-way relationship less so. Did you think you would have trouble getting this made?

I spent many a night arguing with myself, being like, “Why are you even bothering to work on this because it will never see the light of day.” But I became obsessed with telling it, whether or not it would come to fruition, because I became enchanted with the characters and the process of writing it. I really wanted to tell a very organic love story without any editorializing or winking. I didn’t want to otherize the experience of what they were doing. I made the decision, very overtly, to tell the story using the conventions of a classic prestige biopic. I thought the content in and of itself was so potentially controversial that I wanted to just treat their lives the way you would treat anybody else’s life. I feel that kink is often portrayed in the movies as scandalous and dark or transgressive. But in their case, I didn’t think it was. In the film, it’s linked to this notion of fantasy versus reality. In this fantastical world, which ultimately leads to Wonder Woman, they can be their…

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