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Patty Jenkins explains why 'Wonder Woman 1984' has more humor — and depicts more harassment — than the first movie

·Senior Correspondent, Yahoo Entertainment
·2 min read
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If you like your superhero movies with a heftier dose of comedy, you might be in the camp that likes Wonder Woman 1984 even better than its record-setting 2017 predecessor.

Moving away from the battlefields and No Mans Lands of the WWI-set Wonder Woman and into the mega-malls of 1980s America, there’s an airier tone to the action, even if the stakes remain just as high. That’s thanks to a combination of cast additions (with Pedro Pascal playing a frenetic oil tycoon whose ambitions threaten the fate of the Earth and Kristen Wiig as an awkward scientist-turned-powerful antagonist), fish-out-of-water shenanigans when Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor turns up to shock Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince and some good old-fashioned ‘80s fashion quips.

“I felt like we were doing the right thing with the first one — it was great to have the humor between Diana and Steve — but then it goes into heavier thematics and that was the right thing to do,” director and co-writer Patty Jenkins tells Yahoo Entertainment in a recent interview (watch above). “The truth though is, I love a great balance in a superhero movie. And particularly Wonder Woman is such a light and loving and fun character, also played by a very funny actress.”

Jenkins especially wanted to find cast members with comedic chops like Wiig and Pascal after saying goodbye to Lucy Davis, the scene-stealing actress who played Trevor’s excitable secretary in the first film. “It was really important to me to find sparkly, great, funny people, who were also capable of great drama to put in this one,” the filmmaker explains.

Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot on the set of 'Wonder Woman 1984' (Warner Bros.)
Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot on the set of 'Wonder Woman 1984' (Warner Bros.)

Between an early sequence in which Wonder Woman saves a string of females from dangerous men, a would-be sexual assaulter being fent off and a heavy amount of gawking, cat-calling and harassment toward Diana and Wiig’s Barbara Minerva, it also feels like a film more determined to speak to sexism in our culture in addition to the character’s innate female empowerment.

That wasn’t necessarily by design, though.

“It wasn’t a goal,” Jenkins says. “It actually just was so particularly so true back then, it was hard to avoid.

“But beautiful women in the world walking [around] encounter all of this other stuff so it just kind of came naturally. Particularly when you’re inherently doing scenes where beautiful Gal Gadot is walking around crowds of people. You’d just be lying if you acted like men wouldn’t be hitting on her all the time. They would be.”

Wonder Woman 1984 premieres in theaters and on HBO Max Christmas Day.

Watch Jenkins talk about her upcoming gig directing Star Wars: Rogue Squadron:

— Videos produced by Jon San and edited by Jimmie Rhee

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