Patty Jenkins, 44, is the director of Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman solo movie. She’s the first female director to helm a DC Comics movie and is making the first superhero movie with a female protagonist since 2005’s Elektra with Jennifer Garner. Wonder Woman is also Jenkins’ first full-length film since 2003.
Here’s a look at Jenkins’ career.
1. Jenkins Wasn’t The First Choice to Direct ‘Wonder Woman’
The first woman hired to helm Wonder Woman was Michelle MacLaren, who has helmed episodes of Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Therefore, her TV resume was why DC and Warner Bros. seemed prepared to hand her the steering wheel.
However, it fell apart for MacLaren. Variety reported that MacLaren wanted to make a movie that was similar to Braveheart, while Warner Bros. wanted something a bit more romantic. Warner Bros. was also nervous about her lack of movie experience, even though she had been on Game of Thrones.
2. She’s The First Woman to Direct a Super Hero Movie With a Female Protagonist
Jenkins isn’t the first woman to direct a comic book movie. In 2008, Lexi Alexander helmed Punisher: War Zone. Unfortunately for Alexander, the film wasn’t a hit and she’s only made one movie since – the direct-to-video 2010 feature Lifted.
The last comic book movie to have a female character as the star was 2005’s Elektra, a spin-off of the 2003 film Daredevil. Elektra hit theaters in January 2005 though, so Wonder Woman is the first big summer blockbuster to center on a female character. Elektra was directed by Rob Bowman, who hasn’t directed a movie since.
Jenkins also isn’t the first woman to direct a $100 million movie. That title goes to K-19: The Widowmaker‘s Kathryn Bigelow in 2002.
3. Her Previous Movie was ‘Monster’ With Charlize Theron
Jenkins hit Hollywood’s radar by directing Monster, an indie movie about the serial killer Aileen Wuornos, in 2003. She got Charlize Theron to change completely into a character, earning the actress an Oscar and also helping to launch her career. It was Jenkins’ first feature.
Despite all the attention Monster got, it still didn’t quite provide her with a launch pad in Hollywood. She wasn’t able to complete another movie and she left Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World over creative differences. So, she moved to television, where she directed an eopside of Arrested Development in 2004, two Entourage episodes in 2006 and a segment of the 2011 Lifetime movie Five.
4. She won a Directors Guild Award for Helming ‘The Killing’ Pilot
Jenkins’ top achievement as a director on television came in 2011 when she was behind the camera for AMC’s The Killing. She directed the pilot, which earned her a Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dramatic Series. In 2011, she was also nominated for a Directing Emmy, but lost to Martin Scorsese’s pilot for Boardwalk Empire. It’s tough to beat Scorsese.
Jenkins returned to direct the season two finale of The Killing in 2012. The following year, she directed the pilot for Betrayal.
5. Jenkins Has Wanted to Make ‘Wonder Woman’ Ever Since She Finished ‘Monster’
In a July 2016 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jenkins revealed that she had wanted to make a Wonder Woman movie since she finished Monster. She did receive a script for Wonder Woman in 2005, but she was pregnant and didn’t want to leave her son.
“When I made Monster and they asked me what I wanted to do [next], I immediately said, ‘I want to make Wonder Woman,” Jenkins said. “Everybody knew I wanted to make a superhero movie.”
Jenkins also told EW that she was “grateful” that Marvel had hired her for Thor at all. ““I’m still so grateful to those guys for hiring a woman to direct f****ng Thor. Why would you do that? You don’t have to do that,” she said.