Why Wonder Woman's Ballroom Scene Was So Tricky To Shoot

Wonder Woman ballroom

Wonder Woman is becoming one of 2017's top films, which must be nice for the cast and crew because for them making the movie required a lot of hard work. Surprisingly, the toughest scene to get right wasn't any of the big action sequences. According to Wonder Woman's Director of Photography, the trickiest scene to shoot was actually the part in the ballroom. This was primarily due to the location where it was filmed, an old historic building, which meant they had to get creative about how the setup their shots. According to DP Matthew Jensen...

It's a very tricky location. It was a very long, beautiful, narrow hallway, essentially, that we dressed to look like a ballroom. But it was very enclosed and we wanted to see the ceiling. So that really limited where I could hide my lights, since because it's old and historic I couldn't really do anything to the walls or rig anything. Then during the dance, Patty [Jenkins] wanted close-ups of our actors while they're dancing and spinning. Originally when we got there I thought that [the actors] had choreographed the dance precisely. I came to realize as we were shooting that they were just kind of moving on their own, there wasn't a specific step or anything, which added another wrinkle. In order to hold them in close-up we built a 360-degree track around them.

It doesn't seem like too much to expect that the dance sequence had been choreographed, and yet, apparently on Wonder Woman that was not the case. Matthew Jensen tells Uproxx that he expected to be able to just set up cameras where they needed to be to capture the right moments. Unfortunately, he couldn't do that because apparently, the actors were making up the dancing while they went along. Add to this the fact that Jensen couldn't simply put cameras anywhere he wanted, because he couldn't damage the historic location in any way, and apparently, things weren't quite that easy.

Even after the 360-degree track was built things weren't simple. The camera crew had to move around the actors, constantly adjusting camera position and focus, without really knowing where everybody was going to be moving the next moment. We're certainly hoping that the actors were conscious of the camera crew's plight and did their best to work with them, otherwise it could have been a very long day.

In the end, we certainly couldn't tell that the cameraman was making it all up as he went along, so clearly they were able to make it work. The room looked like a ballroom, which apparently it wasn't but it also looked like everything was well choreographed, which apparently was also not true.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.