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This story first appeared in the 2014 Women in Entertainment issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When Warner Bros. announced Nov. 24 that Michelle MacLaren would helm its big-screen adaptation of Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot, it was the culmination of a long journey that had seen everyone from Ivan Reitman to Joss Whedon attached to direct.
“I’m really glad they have a female director because that’s what it calls for,” says former Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, now 63. The 5-foot-10 actress was best known for being Miss World USA when she was cast as the Amazon tribe woman who comes to the U.S. during World War II and, as THR wrote in its 1975 review of the pilot, “overcomes the treachery of a crooked theatrical agent, battles a ferocious female spy and prevents a Nazi Colonel from bombing the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”
See more Wonder Woman: How Hollywood Has Brought the Iconic Superhero to Life
THR praised the show for its “pop-art comic-book effect balanced by a light comedy style” and noted that her American experience left the superheroine, based on a DC Comics property, “a wiser and more circumspect Amazon.” Doing the TV show left Carter herself wiser and more circumspect. “Right away, there was a pullback by the network on the feminist issues,” says the actress. “They were still in a 1950s mentality of ‘Oh, these damn women.’ They were afraid of alienating the men in the audience.” After one season, ABC opted not to renew the Douglas Cramer-produced show, but it was picked up by CBS for two more seasons; an attempt by NBC to revive the series in 2011 with Friday Night Lights‘ Adrianne Palicki starring and David E. Kelley writing was DOA.
Carter still has fond memories of Wonder Woman. “I loved getting up in the middle of the night, driving to the studio as dawn was breaking, being on the set,” says the married mother of two who last year guest-starred as herself on Two and a Half Men. “It was everything I ever hoped for. I think every newly famous actor should go into therapy because you live in a crazy bubble, but it was still a blast.”
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