Monster’s Patty Jenkins has been hired to replace Michelle MacLaren as director of Wonder Woman, the high-profile comic book movie aiming to bring the iconic female superhero to the big screen for the first time.
Studio Warner Bros moved quickly to replace MacLaren, known for her television work directing episodes of Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, after her exit earlier this week prompted headlines pondering whether Wonder Woman would ever make it to multiplexes. A previous big screen effort written by Joss Whedon floundered at the development stage six years ago, a situation made all the more ridiculous when the Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s debut superhero film The Avengers became the third-highest-grossing movie of all time in 2012 with $1.5bn (£1bn) in receipts.
In Jenkins, Warner has found a director with indie credit that rival studio Marvel hired for its film Thor: The Dark World before replacing her with Alan Taylor – ironically another Game of Thrones alumnus. Warner also needed to find a female creative vision for the project and would have faced outrage from fans and bloggers if it had gone for the “safer” option of an established male film-maker.
Jenkins has struggled to find movie work since Monster, her biopic of the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, won Charlize Theron the best actress Oscar in 2004. She has also turned to television, directing the award-winning pilot for the acclaimed US version of Danish crime series The Killing, as well as two episodes of HBO hit comedy Entourage.
MacLaren unexpectedly quit Wonder Woman film in a decision officially attributed to “creative differences”. One of the more fantastical claims in the blogosphere since then suggests she wanted the character to have a tiger sidekick, an idea which supposedly did not go down well at Warner. In line with its 2013 Superman reboot, Man of Steel, the studio is attempting to create a grounded superhero cinematic universe to compete with Disney-owned Marvel’s successful series of films.
Israeli actor Gal Gadot remains attached to Wonder Woman, which is due to hit cinemas in 2017. The character will debut in next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.