Patty Jenkins on her 13-year journey to make 'Wonder Woman'

She says people had to dispel belief "that action movies were only for boys."

ByABC News
June 1, 2017, 9:59 AM

— -- "Wonder Woman" hits theaters Thursday evening in select cities and then nationwide Friday. And while it's the first modern superhero movie with a woman leading the charge onscreen, it's also the first superhero film with a female director.

ABC News spoke to Patty Jenkins in advance of this blockbuster to talk about her love affair with the character, what it means to her to be at the helm of this project, and more.

The director said she's excited for fans to see the film, adding that she's been a super fan of the character herself for years.

"I think she is the grand, classic superhero," Jenkins said of her muse. "Of which there are very few. Many of the superheroes stand for different, smaller things. She is a hero, uncomplicated, loving, kind. Also sexy, cool, tough, bada--."

Jenkins believes superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman, Captain America and others end up becoming the "fantasy embodiment of ourselves."

"For all of us who pretended we were Lynda Carter [who played Wonder Woman in the '70s TV show] running around the playground, you can save the world, you can take out the bad guy and you look like Lynda while you're doing it," she added. "Who doesn't want that?"

But it's the "love" that she embodies in the story's time frame (WWI) and even now that Jenkins says that really sets her apart.

"The fact that she stands for, 'Yes, I'm a hero, yes I [am] here to save the world, but I'm also here to teach you love and truth and I believe in you all being better' makes it so special," she said.

For Jenkins, it wasn't an easy road to get "Wonder Woman" made, though she persisted for years with Warner Bros. -- since 2004 to be exact.

"Ever since I got any success in Hollywood and people asked me what I was interested in doing and I noticed no one had made 'Wonder Woman,'" she said. "I thought, 'My God, an origin superhero story is the brass ring and she's my favorite superhero.'"

For years, Jenkins and the studio met and "conversations happened," but it was always "almost close to something they would consider doing."

Then enter "Man of Steel" in 2013 and "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" last year, opening up the door to a full-on DC Universe on film.

"It got lost in this strange belief system that action movies were only for boys and that superheroes were only for boys," she explained. "[But] comics have always had a bunch of great female characters and a bunch of great female superheroes."

Speaking of kick-butt women, Jenkins said "Wonder Woman" stars Robin Wright and Gal Gadot did their own stunts.

"Not only their own stunts, but they had to do them out in the environment, so they are out in the cold, in the freezing weather, all that stuff," she said. "These women were tough, tough, amazing."

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