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Today, superhero movies are the most popular genre in Hollywood and it seems that every actor and director of note is either part of a major franchise, or rumored to be in talks to join one. Of course, there was a time when that wasn't necessarily the case. While superhero movies are almost always blockbusters that bring in an audience, there was a time when certain directors would have been seen as making movies outside that sphere, and Patty Jenkins was once one of those people.
In 2000, Patty Jenkins directed Charlize Theron to an Academy Award in her role as a serial killer in Monster. In a recent appearance on Mark Maron's WTF podcast, the director reveals that following Monster she was offered a slew of films about women, but that she made it clear what she wanted to do was actually to make a superhero movie. Jenkins says this idea "confused" people...
People were confused by me. I got every woman film, every story about women who blah blah blah. I’m like, ‘I want to make movies about women, but I don’t want to make movies about being a woman.’ That’s so boring, you know? I want to make movies about women doing all kinds of things. So people were kind of confused, but word got out that I wanted to do a superhero film. To Marvel’s credit, like on a movie [Thor 2] that didn’t require a woman at all, they hired me. I’ve always been super grateful to them, even though it didn’t work out.
It's not all that surprising. The year 2000 was when the first X-Men movie was released and Sam Raimi's Spider-Man wouldn't hit until 2002. Comic book movies were certainly on an upswing, but they weren't the all-encompassing genre that they are today. Plus, Patty Jenkins had just made her name at the Oscars. It wouldn't have been shocking to see the director look for future films that might be considered awards darlings.
Instead, she wanted to make a superhero movie. She initially got her chance when Marvel asked her to helm the sequel to Thor. She says she's grateful that the studio asked her considering the project didn't need a woman in the director's chair. Interestingly, however, the reason Jenkins left that project did have a lot to do with her being a woman. She says she knew the story of Thor 2, which became Thor: The Dark World wouldn't work, and she also knew that if she directed it, it would harm her future prospects in a way that it wouldn't for a male director.
In the end, Patty Jenkins would find Wonder Woman and it would all work out. Wonder Woman 1984 is now available on HBO Max and in theaters.