*This interview was conducted in February 2020, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Punk-electronic music, malls, informercials, and big, bright, everything—it's 1984 and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is living mainly as Diana Prince, a beautiful, accomplished, woman-superhero-demigoddess who is somewhat isolated and lonely after decades of living amongst humans.
The last time we saw Diana, the year was 1918 and she had just witnessed World War I and what she thought was the worst of humanity. She was bright-eyed, optimistic, and idealistic, despite having had to say goodbye to her loved ones and the man she loved.
Some 60 odd years later, we find Diana as beautiful and wise as ever, but this time disillusioned and lonely. She is up against two new human villains: Cheetah and Maxwell Lord, played by Kristen Wiig and Pedro Pascal, respectively. Also, in a move that excited fans globally, Diana's love interest Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) is miraculously back, despite having sacrificed himself to save the world in the first Wonder Woman movie.
The movie, again helmed by Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, brings the big, bold, beautiful decadence of the 1980s alive. The stellar cast shines in their roles, and the chemistry among all the actors is palpable. The movie also brings back the big, explosive action scenes of the '80s movies, really taking us into that decade.
The two additions to the cast bring a new flavor to the mix. Kristen Wiig, who we've seen in movies like Bridesmaids, Knocked Up, and iconic series Saturday Night Live, brings historic Wonder Woman comics villain Barbara Minerva/Cheetah Girl alive like we've never seen her before. Meanwhile, Pedro Pascal, who we've seen as fan-favorite Oberyn Martell in Game Of Thrones, Javier Pena in Narcos, and most recently as The Mandalorian in the Star Wars spinoff of the same name, introduces audiences to villain Maxwell Lord, also from the comics.
Viewers and fans of the first Wonder Woman will find a lot to be excited for! The movie, which focuses on the perceived idea of greatness, also tackles complex human relationships and the multi-dimensionality of being "bad." Case in point: In the trailer, we see Barbara Minerva, a beautiful and accomplished woman who lacks self-confidence, start out as Diana's friend, but she later on evolves into the villain Cheetah. Meanwhile, Maxwell Lord is a rich businessman and capitalist who seems to lure followers by promising the idea of becoming "great."
Cosmo.ph got an exclusive preview of the movie as well as roundtable interviews with the cast and director in a swanky hotel in West Hollywood. The stars, who are as beautiful as they are on screen, were also charming, accommodating, excited to talk about the movie, and obviously great friends with each other. We got about 20 minutes with each actor and Patty, and they gave us some teasers and a bit of a background on the movie.
On the characters
While we didn't get the chance to see the whole movie, Gal, Kristen, Chris, and Pedro graciously shared some details that made us even more excited to see the final cut. According to Gal, the Diana of 1984 has gone a long way since the Diana in 1918 and she is lonely and somewhat disillusioned. She also forms a new friendship with Barbara, only to find that her new friend has her own internal struggle.
"We find Diana 66 years later—old—after where we end the last movie and she's been very lonely. She's doing the right thing and serving her calling but she's alone. And then she meets Barbara Minerva, and they have a lot in common and they have good chemistry and they see things in each other that they would like for themselves. And then something crazy happens," Gal teased.
Kristen, who was a huge fan of Wonder Woman growing up, gave us a bit of a background story about Barbara, an accomplished, beautiful woman in her own right who struggles with low self-esteem and admires but also resents Diana—which may have something to do with how she eventually evolves into Cheetah.
"When Barbara meets Diana she's very ignored, she's very invisible, she doesn't have a lot of friends, she's probably socially awkward and no one pays attention to her. She's carried that with her in her life and work and when she meets Diana, here's this person who's everything she wants to be and she's talking to her and wants to be her friend. So Barbara of course looks up to Diana and wants to be around her, and it also just makes her feel good that someone wants to have a conversation with her. And then something crazy happens!" revealed Kristen.
Meanwhile, Chris Pine's Steve is miraculously back, despite having sacrificed his life to save the world 66 years previously. While we'll have to wait for the movie to know how exactly he returned, Steve and Diana go through a kind of role reversal this time around.
"In the first movie, she's kinda bright-eyed and he's cynical, and in this one, she's been around. [After] the world wars, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, she's more jaded. It's definitely a flip, so it's fun. We get to play completely different colors than we did in the first one," said Chris.
Pedro Pascal's Maxwell Lord, meanwhile, is a new and almost fun kind of villain. The Maxwell Lord we get a peek at is a businessman at the head of an empire and getting rich and powerful by selling the idea of dreams fulfilled.
"Max Lord is a human being and I don't mean that flippantly. I mean that he's a person. Just like all of us and I would say that probably everyone goes through changes when you get more than you can handle," shared Pedro.
"I was craving what I hadn't gone to do which is grand Wonder Woman at the height of her power, as we just got her even into existence in the last movie," shared Patty. "Also, I wanted to talk about the stories that the world is making me want to tell right now, which is very intrinsic to our times…The '80s were us at the height of the Western civilization and led to the world that we're in right now. It was a great era to talk about now without actually talking about now," she added.
On reliving the '80s
The cast, who were children in the '80s, and Patty, who was a teenager then, all enjoyed reliving the decade—costumes, scenes, and music included.
"Our clothes were amazing. I got the greatest pieces," shared Gal. "We went through stills of the best Chanel, Dior, high fashion runways, and we were like, 'What should we wear?!' The white dress I was wearing [in the trailer] was from an actual Chanel or Dior fashion show back in the '80s."
"Patty didn't put me in like a very tight leather outfit," said Kristen. "Cheetah goes through a lot of different stages in her wardrobe and all of it, even her outfit at the start where she looked so dowdy? I loved it all. The shoulders, the hair, I loved it," she added.
Meanwhile, Patty shared that she wanted the movie to feel that it was shot in the '80s—with big bright action sequences and less CGI.
"I wanted to feel like it was made in the '80s, where they had these massive extravaganza movies where you could tell that they flew around the world and they were actually in another country, and they're in the sun, the trucks are real and the people are flying through the air and the stunts are real…it was pretty great," said Patty.
On "greatness" and humanity
According to Patty, the movie explores the misconceptions of being great, while also threshing out the "multi-dimensionality" of being "bad"—each character isn't simply good or bad, and has a very human, relatable core in them.
"What is greatness to me is literally what Wonder Woman is all about. It is not being perfect, but trying your very best to be brave and strong and good and loving and thoughtful and kind in the face of great challenges. And I love that about her. I love that she's not simply good without question. And doesn't have disgust for the bad. She's passionate and she understands all these things and she's not perfect either but she's trying to do the right thing in all these situations," said Patty.
Meanwhile, according to Chris, the movie's focus on each character's inherent humanity makes it an emotional, multidimensional action movie.
"Wonder Woman's greatest strengths are her compassion and love. And especially in this film, you see even the baddies have context for their criminality. There's context to their outlook. To their evil. And it's met with love and compassion. It doesn't have the hardness of 'an eye for an eye.' Diana shares a lot of the same qualities that the bad guys do. And in relating that way, I think there's a greater humanity to everyone," shared Chris.
Wonder Woman 1984 will exclusively premiere in the Philippines on Wednesday, April 21, via the HBO GO app.
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