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Patty Jenkins Hopes to Someday “Be Last Wave Feminism” As She Gears Up for Wonder Woman 2

Patty Jenkins is Variety’s “Power of Women L.A.” issue cover subject, with very good reason. She recently signed on to helm Wonder Woman 2 for Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment, garnering the highest-paying deal given to any female filmmaker.

As reported by Variety, Jenkins is set to receive $7-9 million, which is more than any female director has ever been paid. While the money is obviously very nice, what fueled Jenkins through her negotiations was a sense of duty toward other female filmmakers. “You’re of course aware of the money,” she says. “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.”

Jenkins asserts that women need to ask for what they’re worth, but also clarifies that you have to be the right person for the job at the right time. She elaborates: “Women who have not been in a system that allows them to build up the same level of pay as men are not able to be paid the same as men forever if that’s the way it continues. You have to ask for it to happen, and you have to ask when you’re the appropriate person.”

She cites Charlize Theron, whom Jenkins directed to an Oscar win in her 2003 independent film Monster, as an example, saying, “I knew when Charlize had to do it on Snow White and the Huntsman, and I felt that it was my job to do it here.”

There was some smart negotiating happening as far back as the first film, too. Originally, Michelle Maclaren was hired to direct, but when she exited the project due to creative differences, Jenkins was hired … but only for one film rather than being locked down for sequels. “They could have tied me up earlier,” she says. “I wouldn’t have wanted that.”

Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, is inspired by how Jenkins handled her negotiations. “[Patty] is definitely paving the way for so many other female directors,” she says. “I think it was very important that she fought to get the best deal. You got to walk the walk and talk the talk.”

Meanwhile, despite having created a very feminist film about an iconic female superhero, Jenkins insists she didn’t approach the film in those terms. “Not at all,” she says. “And that is the success of feminism. I have always wanted to be last-wave feminism, where you’re so feminist, you’re not thinking about it at all. Where you’re like, ‘Of course this superhero is the greatest superhero of all time. Oh, she’s a woman? I wasn’t even thinking about that!’”

Check out the full profile over at Variety, where she gets into things like women mentoring both men and women in the entertainment industry, the 14 years between Monster and Wonder Woman (she chose to direct in television and give up features for a while to have and raise her son with her husband), and the father who passed away when she was seven, inspiring her ever since.

I don’t entirely agree with all of her approaches, and I think that her desire to jump to “last-wave feminism” downplays the amount of work that still needs to happen in order to get anywhere close to that. Still, she is a feminist, as we all are, in progress, with slightly different approaches than mine, and I’m glad to have her voice in her position at her level in Hollywood. Now, we just need more of her.

(via, image: Shutterstock)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.