The lined snaked around the lobby of the TCL Chinese theatres, press, volunteers, fans all stood in line for almost over an hour waiting patiently. Ticket numbers were handed out, my number was 171. As people joined the line, “Is this the line for Patty Jenkins?” It sure was.
The Wonder Woman director and AFI conservatory alumna was in conversation with Bryce Dallas Howard. The crowd filled in, taking their seat. The No Man’s Land clip played and when Jenkins entered she received a standing ovation.
Below are highlights from the conversation:
On How She Got Into Directing:
Jenkins said she studied painting at Cooper Union College and her interests were in photography and screen printing. She has always loved music and when she heard the score to Birdy by Peter Gabriel, she was inspired to try experimental filmmaking.
Jenkins told the crowd she worked for free for four months on commercial productions. She met a Director of Photography while working on a Michael Jackson video who had recommended she join the AFI School and Jenkins set her eyes on that.
The producer Brad Wyman had suggested the story of Aileen Wuornos to her and making the film was her “defining moment.”
Jenkins said Monster had happened quickly, the film got made, released, and Charlize Theron won the Oscar for playing the role of Wuornos. “I didn’t know how to take advantage of what happened,” Jenkins said of the film’s success.
Even though she worked on smaller projects after, it would be another fourteen years before Wonder Woman happened. Howard asked Jenkins how she had changed in that time, “I understood what I wanted from my career.”
On her process:
“I am a big system person.” Jenkins explained, with Wonder Woman, Diana Prince’s story is our story, we are seeing the story through her eyes, “her journey is our journey.” She wanted Wonder Woman to be an intellectual superhero, someone who made a deliberate choice who in the end chose to believe in love. Jenkins said the tight camera lens choices helped to create that experience and that she always gets involved with her crew and actors as part of her process.
On the influence of music:
While Jenkins said she has been inspired by Kathryn Bigelow and Gary Ross, she also mentioned Steve Perry, singer, and songwriter of Journey as someone who influences her. She recognized the complex thought process of Perry as an artist and songwriter and musician and said she thinks musically when filmmaking, “The rhythm is huge. As a director, you hold the rhythm of the concerto and filmmaking is just like music in that sense.”
Wonder Woman continues to set box office records and new records. Jenkins has already clinched the title of the highest-grossing film directed by a woman and the film has earned over $821 million at the box office. Jenkins is set to return with the Wonder Woman sequel.
The AFI Film Fest runs from November 9-16. For more info visit : http://www.afi.com/afifest/