From Indie Filmmaker to a Career Among the Stars
By David Crow
Patty Jenkins is one of the most sought after directors working in the industry today, with blockbusters set up from WB to Disney.
It’s a far cry from growing up in Kansas as an Air Force brat and daughter of a fighter pilot.
Jenkins got into filmmaking while earning her masters at the AFI conservatory.
Her student film during her final year, “Velocity Rules,” crossed superheroes with arthouse cinema; it also got Hollywood’s attention.
Three years out of school, she helmed Monster, a movie that starred Charlize Theron as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos.
The movie earned Theron an Oscar and every other award, but Patty was never nominated.
Some offers came in, such as Jenkins’ attempt to make a Chuck Yeager movie, but they never coalesced.
Jenkins was famously hired by Marvel to direct Thor: The Dark World in 2011 before leaving the project two months later.
On exiting Thor, she said in 2020, “I did not believe I could make a good movie out of the script that they were planning on doing.”
Instead she worked heavily in television, including earning an Emmy nomination for directing the pilot of The Killing.
But through it all there was Wonder Woman, a movie she pursued since 2004.
Right after Monster, she took a meeting with WB and said, “‘I want to do Wonder Woman.’ And since then I came in every year to have a meeting about it.”
She finally got it in 2015 and crafted one of the most popular superhero films ever.
With Gal Gadot starring as Diana Prince in World War I, the film had one of the best box office runs in this century.
Jenkins followed it up with the noir in I Am the Night, a limited series co-created by her husband.
And now she’s back in the world of Themyscira in Wonder Woman 1984.
She also has Cleopatra with Gal Gadot and the next Star Wars movie, Rogue Squadron, lined up.
The future is bright for a director who’s also teased she’s thought about helping start a studio…