Wonder Woman is one of the most iconic superheroes in comic book history, an integral part of DC‘s trinity, and now the star of one of the most profitable cape movies of all time! But how much do you know about Wonder Woman’s real life origins? Who truly created her? A new movie by Angela Robinson seeks to answer those very questions. We snuck in to a super exclusive SDCC speakeasy to hear the director talk all about her passion project, which has been years in the making.
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women is a film that Robinson has been trying to make for almost a decade, first inspired by a particular book on the character. “Jordana Brewster knew I was this crazy Wonder Woman fan and got me the Les Daniels book on her, [Wonder Woman: The Complete History],” Robinson said. “This beautiful coffee table book. There was a whole chapter on the Marstons.”
The Marstons were arguably one of comics’ most unconventional creative teams. The polyamorous triad consisted of William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who also invented the polygraph, along with his wife Elizabeth Holloway Marston, and their lover Olive Byrne, one of William’s former students. The story grabbed Robinson and set her on a long journey to make Professor Marston and the Wonder Women. “My friend was working on one of the original Wonder Woman scripts,” Robinson said. “I started telling her the story of Marston and how the genesis of Wonder Woman wasn’t the same as Batman, Superman, or any other superhero. She said, ‘You have to make this movie.'”
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women has an enviable cast, what with Luke Evans and Rebecca Hall playing the Marstons. Robinson was delighted to find that Rebecca Hall had interest in the creators of Wonder Woman before she even came across the script. “I’d watch Rebecca Hall read the phone book, and I heard she was interested in playing Elizabeth Holloway,” Robinson said. “She’d actually done a lot of research into the story [of the Marstons] herself and found her own way to it. She was even considering adapting it! So there’ve been all of these serendipitous moments.”
In the recently released trailer for Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, there’s an underlying theme of secret identities both on and off the page. This was a theme Robinson felt vital to the Marstons’ stories. “Everybody knows that Diana Prince is Wonder Woman’s alter ego,” she said. “The film explores the Marstons’ relationship, how he and his wife both fell in love with one of his students. They lived together and formed a family together. They had a secret identity in and amongst themselves.”
For Robinson, the realization that William didn’t in fact have a wife and a mistress, but was ultimately in a polyamorous relationship, was a revelation. “They have an expansive, incredible story,” Robinson said. “My job as a writer is to work out how to tell that in two hours. I went in thinking that Marston had a wife and a mistress, and then I read that Olive and Elizabeth lived together for 38 years after Marston died. Elizabeth named her only daughter after Olive. That readjusted my prism of how I was telling this story. To me, this film is a love story.”
Were you aware of the unusual relationship behind Wonder Woman? Can’t wait to explore the women who inspired Diana’s creation? Just happy to see a polyamorous relationship on screen? Jump into our comments and let us know!
Images: AnnaPurna Studios