After working on the script for nearly two years, Joss Whedon announced Friday (February 2) that he is no longer attached to write and direct the new big-screen adaptation of “Wonder Woman.”
“It’s pretty complicated, so bear with me,” he wrote on his Web site under the heading, “Satin Tights No Longer.” “I had a take on the film that, well, nobody liked. Hey, not that complicated.”
Earlier this week, Warner Bros. and Silver Pictures bought a “Wonder Woman” spec script — featuring a story set during World War II — by newcomers Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland. Sources said the companies bought the spec script as a pre-emptive legal measure to take it off the market and protect them against any possible similarities between the script Whedon penned and the one written by Jennison and Strickland. That script will now act as the replacement to Whedon’s (see “Joss Whedon Vows He Won’t Do Anything Silly With Wonder Woman” and “An Open Letter To ’Wonder Woman’ Director Joss Whedon” ).
“Let me stress that everybody at the studio and Silver Pictures were cool and professional,” Whedon wrote. “We just saw different movies, and at the price range this kind of movie hangs in, that’s never gonna work. Non-sympatico. It happens all the time.”
This might come as a shock to those who thought the “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator was the perfect man for the job — after all, strong female characters who kick butt are kind of his calling card. So what would Whedon’s “Wonder Woman” have looked like? While he was still attached to the project, Whedon told MTV News that he planned to tell the story of the origin of Wonder Woman, using “a lot of the mythos from the very oldest comics” and ample amounts of Greek mythology.
“There’s been a lot of good runs on the comic,” he said, “but there hasn’t been … [an] origin issue … one you can plop down and say, ’Make this.’ The story hasn’t been told exactly the way it needs to be told in the movie, so I have to do a lot of legwork myself, and make it seem like I didn’t, and make it seem natural to her world.”
Instead of World War II, Whedon’s story was going to place Wonder Woman in modern times, to make her a “viable modern-day figure” and showcase her inability to fit into society. “She’s a fish out of water. It’s basically ’Splash,’ ” he joked. “I just took the script from ’Splash’ and changed some of the names.”
Whedon had hoped to take some of what could be considered campy aspects of the Wonder Woman persona — the bracelets, the lasso, the invisible jet — explain why they exist and make them “absolutely central to the entire movie.” “The bracelets and the lasso are so much part of who she is and the journey she goes through,” Whedon said. “They’re not just cute and they’re definitely not silly and she’s not going to spin to change her clothes.”
Because he was taking so long to deliver a version of the script that the studio — and producer Joel Silver — wanted, Whedon wrote that he realized, “it was never gonna be a simple slam-dunk.” But one of the agreements he made with the studio was that “there was no schedule of any kind,” so he was free to take as long as he needed to write the script. “This may have come back to bite me slightly, as I have struggled and struggled to get it done,” Whedon told MTV News. “I’ve been whining about it quite a lot. I’d like to perhaps not be remembered for the whining.”
In his post, Whedon said while he was disappointed that he was no longer affiliated with the project after all this time, he was also relieved that he wasn’t in some “horrible limbo of development.” “So I’m a free man,” he wrote.
Which means, “I never have to answer THAT question again!” he wrote, obviously a reference to the tirelessly posed question of which actress will fill Wonder Woman’s shoes (see “Lindsay? Cameron? Mischa? Who Should Be The Next Wonder Woman?” ). To illustrate his frustration at being asked the question, Whedon had relayed this anecdote to MTV News: “I literally had lunch with a studio executive where I told him, ’It’s driving me crazy, all everyone wants to know is who I’m casting, and I’m not finished with the script,’ and he said, ’Yeah, so who are you going to cast?’ ’And it’s actually driving me crazy, where I have to seek therapy because of it.’ ’So who do you want to cast? Come on, it’s fun to play.’ Oh my God, he won’t stop. It’s the only thing I ever get asked. I’m more tired of it than you can possibly imagine.”
So to close the book on the subject, Whedon wrote in his announcement, “Finally and forever: I never had an actress picked out, or even a consistent front-runner. … All right, it was Cobie Smulders [from TV’s ’How I Met Your Mother’]. Sorry, Cobes.”
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