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Wonder Woman's ‘radically feminist’, overtly sexual origin story is a perfect companion piece for the blockbuster

Professor Marston And The Wonder Woman’s Luke Evans, Rebecca Hall, and Bella Heathcote talk to Metro about their romantic drama, which tells the shocking story of how the comic book came to be.
Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, and Bella Heathcote in Professor Marston
[Photo: Annapurna Pictures]

Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman finally brought the beloved superhero to the big-screen over 75-years after her comic-book debut, and the hopeful, earnest, and consistently entertaining blockbuster instantly underlined why fans had been so eager to see the character given the cinematic treatment.

But it turns out that the origin story of how Wonder Woman actually came to be a comic-book is just as captivating as any of the heroine’s adventures. Not only was its creator William Moulton Marston (Luke Evans) a psychologist and a professor at Harvard, he also invented the lie detector, too. But his personal life was just as riveting, because while he was married to Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), he also fathered children with Olive Byrne (Bella Heathcote), who was both his and Elizabeth’s lover.

“Professor Marston And The Wonder Woman” tells the above story and how Olive and Elizabeth both inspired Marston to create Wonder Woman. Recently I had the chance to speak to its leading trifecta of actors, and they each confessed they were startled by Angela Robinson’s script and the true story.

“I was just so shocked that the origins of this iconic superhero, who is so at the heart of mainstream culture, is rooted in such a radical feminist thinker. Who didn’t accidentally make a comic book that was filled with ideas of feminism, but blissfully set out to make propaganda to convince and encourage boys to respect female authority. I think that’s a fact that’s not widely known. And it is a really important one when you think about it. Because it is astonishing, and it makes it a little sadder that there hasn’t been a movie about ‘Wonder Woman’ for 75 years,” explained Hall, who had actually tried to option the story herself before meeting Robinson.

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“I didn’t know anything about the Marstons, and I couldn’t believe it. The polyamorous relationship was almost the least of it. The fact that the person who created the ‘Wonder Woman’ comic also created the lie detector test, that really blew me,” added Heathcote.

But, for Luke Evans, who admitted to crying after reading the script for the first time, there were many more stirring reasons for his participation.

“As much as ‘Wonder Woman’ plays a role in the story, for me the core central theme of this film is about three people fighting for love, how they work it out, suffered, and managed to survive in a time when it was massively taboo … [Marston] wasn’t afraid to be a feminist, he wasn’t afraid to not have the masculinity that a man of that period would have had to show, and be the master of the house. He didn’t need to show that, he didn’t need to feel that.”

Following on from “Wonder Woman’s” $821.2 million gross earlier this summer, “Professor Marston And The Wonder Woman” yet again brings the superhero to the fore in 2017, and Rebecca Hall knows exactly why the superheroine has had such a renaissance.

“Because her roots are hopeful. She was invented to be a peace keeping figure, to stop war. Marston really believed that if women ruled the world there was a chance that we’d stop going to war all the time. We’re still yet to prove that wrong or right, so you know, we need that hopeful, pacifist voice, and she’s compelling and empowering for women and we’re definitely still going through times where we need more representation. She fits the bill.”

That’s what makes “Professor Marston And The Wonder Woman” such a “brilliant companion piece” to Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins’ film, according to Hall.  

“There’s nothing critical about the Marstons. It is a real celebration of their life, and their origins, and even if you take away the origin story it is still about three people trying to work out how to be truthful to themselves, despite all the odds, and defy society’s expectations. That’s something we can all relate to, regardless of what you think about polygamy, and all that. This is a relatable story, and Angela tells it as a traditional, conventional romance, and not a single unconventional, untraditional relationships has had that treatment on film. It’s quite radical.”

“Professor Marston And The Wonder Woman” will be released on October 13. 

 
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