How Patty Jenkins is Disrupting Hollywood

(image: IMDB/ Getty Images)

Women are currently changing the narrative regarding their roles in Hollywood. For some high profile actresses, they are shying away from playing the stereotypical starlet, assistant, and secretary positions and becoming major players in their field. They’re fighting for equal pay and have now been given the director and producer seats in some major film projects. Additionally, some women have even written their own scripts to ensure better roles for women. While some have even taken it a step further and created their own production companies to turn these films into reality. Patty Jenkins is one of the women currently at the forefront of Hollywood pictures. She directed the 2003 film Monster, chronicling the life of notorious serial killer, Aileen Wuornos. The film starred Charlize Theron and earned the actress an Academy Award for her performance. However, nowadays she is more typically known to younger audiences as the director of 2017 film Wonder Woman, based on the iconic comic book character. The film was a commercial and critical success, grossing $821 million worldwide at the box office, according to Variety.

In undertaking the project, Jenkins stressed on her responsibility when negotiating salary. “You’re of course aware of the money. But I’ve never been more aware of a duty than I was in this deal. I was extremely aware that I had to make sure I was being paid what the male equivalent would be,” she explained. Consequently, word has got out that negotiations regarding her pay had been “unusually lengthy and tough” and not to mention “challenging”. The nature of the agreement was even compared to Zack Snyder’s, director of 2013 Superman flick Man of Steel. He was paid the same amount as Jenkins even though his film earned less than Wonder Woman.

Slate Magazine wrote an article on Jenkins claiming that she is now the highest-paid female director in Hollywood. It was primarily due to the success of Wonder Woman, but her stand against pay disparity also contributed. Her distinction is seen as a huge turning point in Hollywood. But even before Jenkins, many other women have debated the pay gap. Entertainment Weekly listed some of the prominent women who have spoken up about the issue. They include comediennes Amy Schumer and Kathy Griffin, as well as Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams. Even Jenkins’ leading lady for Monster, Charlize Theron, has brought up the controversial topic many times in interviews. She discussed the dilemma while pertaining to her pay in the 2012 film, Snow White And The Huntsman.

Jenkins is now set to direct the sequel of Wonder Woman, as relayed by The Hollywood Reporter. She’s been signed on as co-writer and producer of the film as well. It is expected to be released in 2019.

Thanks to her efforts in the first film, the landscape of Hollywood for women is changing. But more than that, Wonder Woman brought the popular character back to the silver screen after a hiatus that lasted 75 years. This is significant since the heroine is essentially the symbol of female empowerment. Throughout the years, collaborations with DC Comics have highlighted how even though she had not been the sole focus of a featured film for nearly a century, the power of Wonder Woman remains.

Gaming portal Slingo launched their very own Wonder Woman online slots game to pay homage to the first actress who played the character, Lynda Carter. Conversely, CBR mentioned that the makers of Hello Kitty created a partnership due to the cinematic success of the superhero. Such collaborations may be an indication that Wonder Woman is reaching a new level of popularity since the movie. Along with it, comes the inspiration to face issues that affect women on a daily basis, and more importantly speak out.

As Wonder Woman flies high once again, another is perched carefully on her director seat guiding her on. While Patty Jenkins takes on her next projects, she's slowly but surely making it possible for others to follow in her footsteps.

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2016 Words, Travel, Film A. K. Smith author

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