15 August 2003

Okay, this is interesting...

From ScifiWire:

The Comics2Film/CBR News Web site reported a rumor that Warner Brothers has hired writer Laeta Kalogridis to come up with a new draft for a proposed Wonder Woman movie. Philip Levens (Smallville) is writing his own screenplay for a Wonder Woman feature film, based on the DC Comics character. Kalogridis was a writer and executive producer on The WB's short-lived Birds of Prey TV series, which was also based on a DC Comics property. The site reported that Kalogridis will be starting Wonder Woman from scratch, writing a completely new script dealing with the origins of the character.

Now, before everyone groans and says "But BoP sucked!" keep in mind that the main reason BoP sucked was too many cooks (we can debate Ashley's acting skills, or lack thereof, some other time). I place the blame firmly on Tollin/Robbins and the WB. Laeta herself has a really solid handle on the (admitted, pre-Crisis) DCU and I like her approach towards the chicks of the DCU, all of whom get marginalised compared to Supes and Bats. I think that, had the producers left Laeta alone to write her own damned show, instead of going through 8 million diff. writers, none of whom had a solid handle on the show, it would have been a very diff. story.

Do I think this movie will ever be made? Hell no. Let's face it--Wonder Woman may have been continually published (with two short breaks and don't get me started on Denny and that I-Ching bullshit, and don't tell me it was the 60's and that excuses it) since her 1940 debut, but she was never a powerhouse next to the boys. Not even from 1975 to 1978, when the TV series was airing on ABC and CBS. The best shot a new live action Diana ever had was Deborah Joy Levine at NBC in 1996. The chances of them adapting the Perez revamp are slim (especially considering that would mean hiring an 18 year old unknown actress who would speak only Greek for the first third of the movie), but I have a glimmer of hope--mainly because Laeta seems to a) have a clue and b) understands the whole Greek thing and is less likely to make dumbass mistakes like mix up Hercules and Herakles.

(and almost ANYTHING sounds light-years beyond the disaster that was the last Sandy Bulloch draft.)

Still. It would be a perfect time to adapt the Ares storyline. I mean, I sat down and re-read the first 3 years of the book a few summers ago, when I was in my haze of re-kindled Wonder Woman love, and in a post 9/11 world, I can see that particular storyline going over very well. And I still love the idea of 40-year old Steve and his Lt. Candy, rather than 18 year old Diana coming to Boston for love, which works great in the sweet and sappy falling in lovey Golden Age-era 1975 ABC series, but is kinda... well... sexist now. It undermines the character's entire mission and purpose. Plus I much prefer Diana, Julia and Vanessa as the core emotional relationship of the story.

Disadvantages: Folks remember the TV series, and the mainstream has only ever seen the TV series, Super-friends, and possibly the JL series, and so those are their only memories of the character. Granted, more folks seem to remember the CBS series, which like the Perez revamp, has no invisible plane. But I'm all about Diana not having the magical ability to speak English, despite being from an island of 2000+ year old Amazons. And the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story has ALWAYS been my fave, and it would be so kickass to really see that explored. I loved and love the fact that Stargate (the original) never had the aliens magically speaking English. That Daniel learned to pronounce ancient Egyptian in order to communicate, and the audience only got subtitles after Daniel learned the language. i thought that was a brilliant move, and I'd love to see it repeated.

Of course, the chances of Warner Bros. learning from their mistakes and successes, and remembering that the reason Superman, Wonder Woman and Smallville succeeded were because they cast unknowns as Clark and Diana is slim to none. But a girl can still dream, right? Warners seems to think that all comics adaptations should follow the Batman model--which means hiring big names for the heroes and villans, forgetting that the reason Batman succeeded wasn't because folks were flocking to the theatre to see Michael Keaton (who was not anything approaching a solid box-office draw for action, for Pete's sake!). They came to see Batman the character, and they came back again and again because there was nothing else like it (Superman in 1977 and the first sequel had been the first successful comics adaptations in an age, and there was a pretty big drought between Superman II and Batman). The franchise failed because what made Burton's movie unique was completely destroyed by the time they got to Shumacher's last movie (poor bastard). It had been drowned in a sea of too many big-named villains chewing scenery, nipples on the Batsuits, and going to camp over noir.

(Side note: People gotta learn that "comics" does not always translate to "four colours, campy, and for kids." Burton knew this, hence the retro-1940s noir Gotham. Schumacher, having failed to witness the spectacular disaster that was Beatty's Dick Tracy, did not.)

Like the Halle Berry Catwoman, I'm pretty sure that Wonder Woman with a name star attached will languish in development hell forever (as it has been ever since 1989 when Jeanette Kahn went to LA to shop writes around, if I remember correctly). And if they ever do make Catwoman, I still probably won't see it, for one simple reason...

She's not Selina Kyle.

Without Selina, then what you're marketing is a costume. And who is in the costume is what's important. And I'm not talking about the actor, either. It's the characters I'm interested in. I'm not gonna go just for a name and a costume. I want to see character whom I recognise up there on screen. And that means getting a writer with a clue.


I really hope the Laeta rumour is true. And if so, I really hope she doesn't get too badly screwed by Warners.

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