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Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take

03 Jun 2014 15:43 #36715 by lfan
Great interview on Blastr.com with Zoe Bell -- stunt actress, who was Lucy Lawless's stunt double in Xena -- talking about Wonder Woman and her costume not being functional for onscreen:

What are your thoughts on a Wonder Woman movie? From your perspective as a stunt woman, is the classic outfit even feasible?

ZB: It's interesting to me that the Wonder Woman movie has eluded people. If I were to produce that movie or I was to play Wonder Woman, there's no way I'd let that costume get in the way of playing a badass Wonder Woman. I've fallen down stairs in much smaller costumes, and I've been hit by cars in not-so-similar costumes. You can tell I'm looking at it from being a stunt girl, but you can definitely work around any costume. I'd be severely unimpressed by anyone who tried to convince me that they would make this movie if only the costume were different. Now, if they had a more pro-feminism reason for wanting to change that, that's one thing. If, stylistically, they wanted to change to update it, I get that. But I would find it hard to believe that anyone would not be able to make the movie based on the costume. In other words, I'd love to play Wonder Woman. [Laughs]

Personally, I'm still kinda bummed that they apparently (according to rumors) are ditching the traditional costume. To me the whole "she needs to look like a warrior" thing is overrated. She didn't have to look like a warrior for 60 years prior apparently.....

Here is the whole interview if interested: www.blastr.com/2014-6-2/exclusive-zoe-be...ntinos-hateful-eight

ElF
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03 Jun 2014 15:55 #36716 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
Personally I'm not a big fan of the old bathing suit and I would like to see a different take on the costume. I agree that the "look like warrior" argument sound abused, especially when it's not based with any kind of additional ideas.
I wouldn't mind something that looks a bit more gladiatorial and a little less like a U.S.A. flag on WW, but simply tossing a bunch of armor pieces around just won't work.

At the moment I'm withholding judgement until I see some actual pictures.

(formerly Anon, still Librarian)

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03 Jun 2014 17:42 #36720 by Markiehoe
Replied by Markiehoe on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
Lynda Carter and her stunt team, both men and women, did incredible things in this costume back in the 1970's!

Hard to believe that professionals deem this costume to impractical to shoot in 2014.

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03 Jun 2014 18:26 #36721 by aki_zz
Replied by aki_zz on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take

Markiehoe wrote: Lynda Carter and her stunt team, both men and women, did incredible things in this costume back in the 1970's!

Hard to believe that professionals deem this costume to impractical to shoot in 2014.


I'm with you on this!
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04 Jun 2014 00:03 #36727 by CDR
Replied by CDR on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
ELF...
She looked like a warrior to me!!!
Historically warriors have been around, in all kinds of costumes, in most civilizations.
In hollywood they're just trying to be as narrow-minded as they can. They think it saves them money *facepalm*

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04 Jun 2014 14:42 #36735 by kikass
Replied by kikass on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
IMO if you are doing Wonder Woman (as they are), then you have to have THAT costume.

Its really quite simple tbh - every superhero is linked to their costume. Its their identity. Superman and the red and blue (home planet clothes); Batman (looks like a bat; dark armour), etc.

Their costumes are ICONIC. I read a quote somewhere that, apart from Superman, no one is more associated with a specific look then Wonder Woman. Yes, it may not have been the original costume (which wasn't radically different from the classic one if I remember right), but it is certainly THE costume now.

If Hollywood can't get over that fact, then **** off. I don't care for arguments such as the pro-feminist one, or the "she needs to look like a warrior" one that someone listed. She is a COMIC BOOK CHARACTER!

No other character that I can think of has ever had as much discussion about how they look as Wonder Woman seems to have. And is probably the reason for her cinema translation taking soooooo long.

Grow some balls Hollywood and put her in the so-called "swimsuit" costume. Like I said, THAT is Wonder Woman. Otherwise why bother. May as well make a new character and call her, Thunder Woman or something.

Sorry for the rant, but this debate/discussion keeps coming up every so often, and there really is only one winner.

Peace all.

/K
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04 Jun 2014 17:00 #36736 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
If I had to summarize what is wrong with WW, it would be that the most polarizing issue about her is her clothing. Not her background, her mission, her meaning, her value to the world, her powers. All that gets lost and only her costume remains worthy of discussion.

I think that comes from the shallowness of her creation myth, and the fact that she was an overtly political creation of the time. A feminized icon from a former age.

While Thor is also anchored in the mythology of pagan gods, the whole Asgardian thing has legs and depth. But the Greek gods and their relationships to Amazons and the whole "island of women" thing is very weak. Even Kryptonian history looks strong in comparison, especially after Goyer's MOS.

Yet WW is sadly our best hope for a fully empowered superhoerine on screen. PowerGirl? Impossible to translate to the screen. Another costume problem. SuperGirl? A sexist joke in the public's eye, but obviously my favorite. Ms. Marvel could translate to screen easily, but she's also "thin" Do we want Iron Man/Tony Stark and all his technology to be surpassed by a girl in her birthday suit? (YES!) But that won't fly with the mass audience the studios need.

So... how do we pump WW up into being an interesting character in the mass audience's eye? Certainly not by geeking out over her costume. But making her into some kind of mysterious warrior woman with questionable motives... maybe. A disruptive character who feeds Batman's paranoia and generates speculation about why she's interested in Superman could fly as a story line. It just wouldn't be the crappy one from the comic books. That would be good.

Shadar
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04 Jun 2014 17:40 #36737 by Markiehoe
Replied by Markiehoe on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
So instead of a stand alone character with her own story we have to depend on her story in relationship to Superman or Batman.
How about the other way around.
Wonder Woman is a mysterious force for good.
She adopts the United States as her new homeland and dons a costume that represents the best of her new home.
Unlike Superman who reaches back to a world that no longer exists or Batman who feels he has to terrorize his opponents.

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04 Jun 2014 18:44 #36738 by castor
Replied by castor on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take

shadar wrote: If I had to summarize what is wrong with WW, it would be that the most polarizing issue about her is her clothing. Not her background, her mission, her meaning, her value to the world, her powers. All that gets lost and only her costume remains worthy of discussion.

I think that comes from the shallowness of her creation myth, and the fact that she was an overtly political creation of the time. A feminized icon from a former age.


Shadar


Well I wouldn't call wonder woman an overly polticial character. Yes shes tied into the nazis to degree but they tend to be an abstract example of just evil. They have made three captian america movies(yeah you heard me 3) and as a professor once told me he always ends up fighting nazis. Wonder Woman has a larger(ocasionally pretty terrible) Rouge gallery. Actually over the last 40 years writer after writer have come into the title to reinvent her as an ambassador, a godess, a spy- al ot of things..none of which have really caught.

No i think the poltical idea really is...well shes a woman. Says it on the tin. And a lot of the idea of wonder woman is tied up on that. and to degree thats not hard. You have a half a dozen examples. Already.

The recent TV series really failed at it-but i don't think it failed becuse of the costume. When you got to the costume at the end of the show that was fine-and the big fight scene in the pilot where she fights whereing a bathing suit is probabbly one of the better martial arts battle i have seen on films. Zoe is right, she can do it. Probabbly 10 years ago she whould have done it.

It failed to a degree becuse....well its idea of Womanhood as a murderious badass above the law but endless arguing about it, was pretty bad. David Kelly is a writer i like but probabbly not the one for it.

Getting that right, getting the right actress, getting all of that is more important.

It should be noted. All superhero costumes are ridiculous. Superman, Iron Man etc . You can easily do it if you can establish it.

Castor

PS. I do think you could easily do a Ms. Marvel Movie(and your probabbly going to get it). I do think someday your going to get another supergirl movie, and you could Probabbly do power girl. Yes the costume is silly but they have done a good job of matching that to a character. You can match that to an actress your somewhere.

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04 Jun 2014 21:46 #36740 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take

Markiehoe wrote: So instead of a stand alone character with her own story we have to depend on her story in relationship to Superman or Batman.
How about the other way around.
Wonder Woman is a mysterious force for good.
She adopts the United States as her new homeland and dons a costume that represents the best of her new home.
Unlike Superman who reaches back to a world that no longer exists or Batman who feels he has to terrorize his opponents.


No way...not in this day and age. Remember that movies need an international audience to make big bucks, and America as a place and an icon is tarnished. We are entering the post-American world. Wrapping oneself in a stars and stripes swimsuit and saving the world is very 1950ish. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, torture and financial greed and collapse have mostly snuffed that candle.

Beyond that, heroes need to be flawed and edgy to appeal to audiences today. Either that or you have to go down a romantic path, which is very uncomicbookish.

While there was a time when I would have agreed with your suggestion, now the best I can hope for is an interesting influencing character who can (hopefully) challenge Supes and Batman to be better than they are. If not that, then to keep them guessing what her agenda and full powers really are and take her down a darker path.

Remember per her origin stories, Amazons have very negative views toward men and are highly distrustful of "man's world." In the early WW comics, any man who touched the soil of Paradise Island had to be immediately killed. Her romance with Steve Trevor caused Diana to leave Paradise Island with him (to save him) and that took her into man's world. Once she recovered from her shock, she became a force for good fighting the Nazis.

That's probably been retconned a few times, but that's where I remember her story starting. The original TV series was fairly close to that theme.

The rest of the Amazons remained manhating homicidal lesbian superwarriors. Hey... Maybe that would play in 2015? That's her origin, but she's trying to get past that. She's got the hots for Kal El and he changes her view of men such that she rejects her sisters and joins our team, albeit with very mixed feelings toward Batman. I'd go see that movie.

Shadar

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04 Jun 2014 22:06 #36741 by Markiehoe
Replied by Markiehoe on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
Captain America waves the flag and is doing just fine.
The international organization known as SHIELD was corrupt on Fury's side and Hydra's side and as soon as Cap reverted to his traditional American values he knocked the Ant Hill over.
No reason Wonder Woman can't do the same.

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04 Jun 2014 22:19 #36742 by Markiehoe
Replied by Markiehoe on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
Here is a quote from Lynda Carter about Gal Gadot, then she speaks to the meat of the problem:
Lynda Carter on Gal Gadot:

"I’m in her corner. I just hope they write well for her!…I’m very hopeful she embodies the essence of Wonder Woman. It’s less about super powers and more about heart and intellect and a sense of right and wrong with a goodness in her. Oftentimes, writers really want to take a male superhero and dress him up as a female – and that’s just not who she is.

"I care more about the character continuing than holding on to my piece of it. I hope (Gal) has fun with it."

Lynda Carter is such a lady and she gets it.

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04 Jun 2014 22:39 #36743 by Woodclaw
Replied by Woodclaw on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take

shadar wrote: If I had to summarize what is wrong with WW, it would be that the most polarizing issue about her is her clothing. Not her background, her mission, her meaning, her value to the world, her powers. All that gets lost and only her costume remains worthy of discussion.

I think that comes from the shallowness of her creation myth, and the fact that she was an overtly political creation of the time. A feminized icon from a former age.

While Thor is also anchored in the mythology of pagan gods, the whole Asgardian thing has legs and depth. But the Greek gods and their relationships to Amazons and the whole "island of women" thing is very weak. Even Kryptonian history looks strong in comparison, especially after Goyer's MOS.

castor wrote: Well I wouldn't call wonder woman an overly polticial character. Yes shes tied into the nazis to degree but they tend to be an abstract example of just evil. They have made three captian america movies(yeah you heard me 3) and as a professor once told me he always ends up fighting nazis. Wonder Woman has a larger(ocasionally pretty terrible) Rouge gallery. Actually over the last 40 years writer after writer have come into the title to reinvent her as an ambassador, a godess, a spy- al ot of things..none of which have really caught.


I think that Castor nailed the main problem. Over the decades WW enjoyed -- or suffered -- many characterization. Quite too many in my opinion. As a result the main issues aren't those of characterization or symbolism, but rather those of looks.
Thor is likely the closest Marvelanalogue to WW in many ways but, as Shadar observed, Thor has a more solid mythological background (although one might argue about the accuracy) that makes him easier to write. Over the decades WW swinged between so many versions that her connection with each one are tenous at best making her a blank slate that author have difficulties to use because, at the same time, she's perceived as iconic in some way. This might be just the consequence of her being the only premiere superheroine for several decades, hence carving a place in the general culture.

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04 Jun 2014 22:56 #36744 by kikass
Replied by kikass on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take

No way...not in this day and age. Remember that movies need an international audience to make big bucks, and America as a place and an icon is tarnished. We are entering the post-American world. Wrapping oneself in a stars and stripes swimsuit and saving the world is very 1950ish. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, torture and financial greed and collapse have mostly snuffed that candle....

Shadar

Captain America waves the flag and is doing just fine.


Was going to mention the same thing. I really don't think the "stars and stripes" thing is that much of a problem, as shown in Capt. America. I have no problem with it. and I'm not even American.

In Capt. America's case, I think its more to do with old fashioned values of honour, duty, justice and loyalty that make him such an endearing (if that is the right word) character in the recent films. And while the world has pretty much gone to crap, even America at some point in time exemplified those values more then anyone.

Yes writing the character well is important, in Wonder Woman's case, and yes her background can be viewed as a little thin. These are things that can be expanded on, and even recreated (witness MOS). However, the point still stand imo, her LOOK is incredibly important. If she were dressed in black matrix leather, would it work? No. If she were dressed in the same colours, but wore pants, would it work? No (which is why it was reverted in the comics).

It’s less about super powers and more about heart and intellect and a sense of right and wrong with a goodness in her. Often times, writers really want to take a male superhero and dress him up as a female – and that’s just not who she is.


Yes, agree. However I don't really think that has ever been a problem. Certainly imo.

Like I mentioned earlier, every discussion about the translation of Wonder Woman to screen, really comes down to her look. Specifically THAT look.

And its not about the inner geek in me, or my particular superheroine fantasy, its just who Wonder Woman is.

Peace.

/K
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05 Jun 2014 02:41 #36745 by shadar
Replied by shadar on topic Wonder Woman Costume Debate: Zoe's Take
I still think she's overly objectified by having to have a certain LOOK, and that without the right look, she's unacceptable. That borders on misogyny. A woman's value is in how she looks?

If she was a character with true depth and meaning, then her looks would not be as important as her powers and the things her heart told her to do with those powers. She could be ugly or burdened with armor or dressed like an Amish. Instead, she has to appear in a skimpy stars and stripes bathing suit.

I'm not trying to diss on anyone here because I share much of the same feelings. I'd love to see her in a very sexy outfit that is a more updated, warrior-like version of her original one. The costume in the current Superman/Wonder Woman comic is also fine with me. But the general audience (not comics or genre fans) might find that very 20th century. If I learned anything from MOS, its that we should expect metallic and warrior-like costumes for all major characters. Superman is already there, Batman has been for years, and all the Kryptonians were even more "ruggedized". So it makes sense to me that they'll go this way with WW.

And likely the producers know their audience.

Which is not us.

All the genre fans and comic book geeks will pay to see the movie, even if they hate it. That's a given. They've already got our money. But given its a big-budget blockbuster, they need a massive viewing audience. I'd wager that we enthusiasts don't amount to 10% of their required audience. They will have their eyes on the 90% who know who these characters are, but don't have a clue as to their real histories or motivations and couldn't care less. As long as there are razzle dazzle special effects and lots of explosions, along with some kind of nefarious plot that involves the near destruction or enslavement of Earth, they'll go see it.

My fear is that by focusing on trivia (in the eyes of the producers), we genre fans become marginalized in the studio's eyes. Over time they will care less and less what we think because we can't be pleased. That we focus on trivia and character details that get in the way of finding a billion dollars worth of viewers. I already see evidence of this from Goyer's interviews where he dumps on comic book geeks as just a bunch of guys who can't get laid. Looking for the perfectly unattainable woman or whatever.

That's a BIG problem, given that we would then cease to have influence over our own genre.

Bottom line for me, is 1) give me a good plot, 2) decent characterization and acting and the 3) kind of special effects we can only dream about. And 4) put her powers close to that of Superman. The last is most critical for me. If they do that, I don't really care what anyone wears or how close the movie matches any of the various interpretations in the comics, or how closely it resembles the old TV show.

The one scene I'd enjoy the most would be Supes and WW fighting each other to a standstill, neither of them able to conquer the other, with kick-ass special effects. And when they are done, Batman convinces them to work together with him to stop some super villain. The three of them become an edgy, volatile team-up who give it all they have to get the job done.

But that's just me...
Shadar

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