January 23, 2014

Director Michelle MacLaren Needs To Be In The Mix For WONDER WOMAN

We learned today that Warner Bros. is considering finally making a Wonder Woman feature, with Gal Gadot in the lead role. At this point we don't even know if this project is even going to happen, or is just an option added to her contact. The studio hasn't named a director or even a writer at this point, so we should approach this slowly. As it seems like the Warner Bros. is doing the same, seeing if Gal's performance deems a solo film.

When it comes to potential directors there is a couple of interesting names, one being Nicolas Winding Refn. While stating he'd love to make film based around the character, he will likely spend his time with his original films and producing his Barbarella series. I'd even believe that 300: Rise of An Empire director Noam Murro is being groomed by Zack Snyder and WB for future DC films. Yet, I love to see WB branch out and at least consider a female director to handle one of the most high-profile superheroine films. I'm not saying a female director "has" to direct but at least consider one or more as candidates.

I recently spoke to the fact, that Lexi Alexander would have been a excellent choice to direct The Expendables spin-off The ExpendaBelles, until the script turned out to be total misogynistic garbage. Lexi recently blogged about the challenges for female directors in the industry, she called for more open-doors, allowing an equal shot at directing studio pictures, no matter the genre or budget. This blog entry caught a lot of attention online to fellow bloggers and industry people (studios too?). I believe fully in this opinion and  hope that Warner Bros. considers taking the first step, when it comes to their big comic book films.

Marvel had a chance to do this by hiring Patty Jenkins (Monster, The Killing) for Thor: The Dark World, but would later exit over creative clashes. Sadly, Alexander has turned out to be our only example of a female director taking on a major comic book film. Lexi did an excellent job servicing Punisher fans and we commend her for it, War Zone is what fans were asking for. Achieving something two previous Punisher directors couldn't. We need to see this across the board, but comic book films allow studios to take more "risks" by hiring their directors. I mean look at Winter Soldier, who would have thought the showrunners of Community would direct a massive Marvel film?

The MCU is lacking the department of female lead characters with superpowers. We know that Captain Marvel/Ms Marvel is being developed at the studio (script is being written), but looks like the character could be saved until Phase Four (2018-2022). Allowing Warner Bros. to make the first major superhero franchise that would focus on a female character. Surpassing and hopefully learning from previous missteps in movies like Elektra and Catwoman. It's possible that Wonder Woman will come out before Marvel, giving DC an edge in the genre.

So what kind of female director is suitable to make such leap into making a massive blockbuster like Wonder Woman? After a bit of researching to what made Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder such interesting comic book directors, I came up with their possible female counterpart. That would be Canadian director Michelle MacLaren, best known for her stellar television work. You'd be surprised how much awesome material she's directed over the years. Below is a bit of a run down of her credits and why directing these shows would make her an excellent candidate.

BREAKING BAD: A lot of people have been clamouring about the amazing series, but oddly we haven't heard a lot about their directors. Michelle directed a bunch of episodes (11 in total) and really understands how to give audiences a gritty world, without going overboard (it wasn't given a mature rating, like Walking Dead). Something we've come to attribute to Christopher Nolan's PG-13 films.

If you've come to love the dark and sometimes chilling performances given by Bryan Cranston, you'd have to give a lot of that credit to MacLaren. I think if she could pull out amazing dramatic skills from supporting/daytime players on Breaking Bad, imagine what she could do with Gadot and the rest of the Wonder Woman cast. I think the interesting turnaround performances by characters like Hank and Skyler are also due to her involvement.

GAME OF THRONES: She's only directed two episodes that have made it to air, but "The Bear and The Maiden Fair" was my favorite of last season, and it was directed by Michelle. Giving us a true sense of awesomeness that is Brienne and Jamie's friendship. In the fourth season we'll see more of her contribution to the Westeros, but if Alan Taylor can end up landing both Thor: The Dark World and Terminator: Genesis from his work on Thrones, Michelle could easily make the the jump to studio work as well. Michelle can handle telling stories within Martin's giant sprawling world, working within the DCU can't be as difficult.

WALKING DEAD: Besides the other shows mentioned, I don't think you could find a larger or more loyal fanbase. She may of only directed two episodes but spending time on that set, must have been a master class on how to work with in camera special effects and makeup. Something that would be needed for a film like Wonder Woman. I have to also assume that the Wonder Woman budget won't be as gigantic as Superman, Batman or Justice League films, because it hasn't really been established as a film franchise. After Green Lantern becoming a massive box office bomb, they might want to lower expectations and will be more cautious when setting the budget. Walking Dead has a minimal production budget and Michelle must have learned a lot cost cutting measures from working on that show.

Michelle MacLaren is the type of female director we need to see making the jump from television to studio pictures. If we are going to see things changes in the industry, having talented female directors thrown into the mix for studio projects like this would be a start in the right direction. This lady can direct drama, genre, fantasy, horror, action and crime stories, why not give her a shot at Wonder Woman? It would be a logical choice to get a well rounded director to take on such a complex character/world like this.

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