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Warner Bros.’s Wonder Woman movie may be zeroing in on a director choice — and a female one at that.
Sources say Michelle MacLaren is emerging as a front-runner to direct a Wonder Woman spinoff movie that would star Gal Gadot, who will portray the Amazonian princess in 2016’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Warners had no comment. The studio has been meeting with numerous female directors — although not specifically for the Wonder Woman project. Last week, the studio met with Jennifer Kent, the director of the well-regarded female-centric horror film The Babadook. Lesli Linka Glatter, a director and co-exec producer on Homeland, which also has a strong female lead at its center, was also on the studio’s meet list.
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MacLaren became a favorite back in August, taking several meetings. Things cooled over the autumn as the studio widened its search. Sources say that MacLaren’s name surfaced again in the last week as a front-runner, even as studio insiders say that Warners is not married to the idea of a female director.
The job of directing a Wonder Woman film brings with it much scrutiny. The character is so iconic and such a symbol for female empowerment that Warners could find itself in hot water were it to hand the project to a male director. So far in the recent history of comic book movies, no project has been directed by a woman. Thor: The Dark World came close; Patty Jenkins (Monster) was on board at one point, but she left over creative differences and Alan Taylor (another Game of Thrones veteran) took over.
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MacLaren, however, has developed a reputation as a muscular director and has drawn comparisons to Kathryn Bigelow, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind testosterone-fueled movies ranging from Point Break to The Hurt Locker.
MacLaren has directed episodes of Game of Thrones (one of Hollywood’s new favorite launchpads for feature directors) and The Walking Dead, shows that deal in blood and action while also featuring strong female characters. She was also a director and executive producer on Breaking Bad. There are very few top female directors who would seem suited for a project that would combine elements of action and palace intrigue (if it were to include the Greek mythology aspects of Wonder Woman’s origins) or world politics (if the project draws from the comics era in which the heroine was an ambassador for her home of Paradise Island).
It is unclear what stage of talks MacLaren is in with the studio, which is keeping a tight lid on its DC Entertainment-based projects.
Warner Bros. has slated the Wonder Woman film for release on June 23, 2017.
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