Warner Bros. has been hoping that the void left by the imminent end of the "Harry Potter" franchise would be filled by the stable of DC Comics characters they own: "The Dark Knight" is already a billion-dollar hit, and any number of similar characters are in various stages of development, including a new take on Superman, "Man Of Steel." But things didn't get off to a good start this weekend, with the filmmaking-by-committee of "Green Lantern" severely underperforming, and looking unlikely to make its money back theatrically.
However Warners may have a savior on the horizon. Danish auteur Nicolas Winding Refn, who's made serious waves in the last few years with films like "Bronson" and "Valhalla Rising," has made no secret of his desire to direct a film based on the third of DC's 'big three' characters, "Wonder Woman," a character who, remarkably, has never starred in her own movie, and is best known from a 1970s TV show. Refn started talking up his genuine desire to bring magic lassos and invisible jets to the big screen last year, saying "I would say that Wonder Woman is probably something that, to me, would be not just a satisfaction, but almost a [catharsis], and I was born to make it." And now, the director seems to have picked the actress he'd like to wear the bulletproof bracelets.
Vulture was at the LA Film Festival premiere of Refn's Hollywood debut, the Ryan Gosling thriller "Drive," and talked to the director about "Wonder Woman." The helmer pointed to "Mad Men" star Christina Hendricks, who has a supporting role in "Drive," and told the site that "If I get to do it, she's going to be it." Hendricks seems to want to do the project as much as Refn, saying in an interview last year that "I've been wanting to wear that outfit my whole life ... I had Underoos — I had Wonder Woman Underoos."
Of course, right now, this is all optimistic talk: there's no deal in place for anyone, and no "Wonder Woman" big-screen project formally in development at Warners. But things are looking a hell of a lot more likely now than they were a year ago. Refn's playing the long game on this one, confessing that he took "Drive" partly to boost his bankability with studios, saying that "I have this dream concept: I want to make 'Wonder Woman' as a feature. And I thought in order get to access to that I should probably become a bit more Hollywood-friendly." Furthermore, the helmer's already signed on for his first tentpole, looking likely to direct Gosling in a remake of "Logan's Run," at, yes... Warner Brothers.
Furthermore, the allegedly awful "Wonder Woman" TV show that Ally McBeal creator David E. Kelley was working on never got past the pilot stage, which can only help matters. It's clear that Refn is serious about his dream project, and, with early word on "Drive" being that it's both an artful noir and a crowd-pleasing action-thriller, we reckon that the studio are seeing the director as a more plausible candidate with every passing day. Whether they feel the same about Hendricks is another question, but Chris Hemsworth has proved that you don't have to be an A-lister to star in a successful superhero flick, and she'd certainly be a great choice.
We happened to talk to Refn on the red carpet ourselves, and he spilled the beans both on current and upcoming projects. The director revealed that his main inspiration for "Drive" was James Sallis' source material, telling us that the book "is about the concept of the mythology of cinema. I thought that that was interesting to do a movie about that in Los Angeles, which essentially is the capital of illusions. So it became my own kind of movie about films."
We also asked him about his next film, "Only God Forgives," a Bangkok-set noir starring rising star Luke Evans and Kristin Scott-Thomas. The director told us "It’s going to be in Asia, it’s going to be hot, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. It has a lot of violence and a lot of red colors." Why red? "Because I'm color blind." After that, he confirmed that he would direct "Logan's Run," with the Gosling/Refn bromance continuing on that film: "Ryan Gosling and I are married for a long time."
With all that in mind, plus another Gosling project, a romantic comedy potentially penned by Albert Brooks, in the pipeline, if he does get the "Wonder Woman" job he wants so much, it may be a while off just yet. In the meantime, you'll be able to judge the director's action chops for yourselves when "Drive" hits theaters on September 16th. Additional reporting by Leah Zak