Lynda Carter on Gal Gadot: we really understand what it feels like to be Wonder Woman
For some, Carter will always be the original incarnation of the superhero, and she admits she felt a little nervous when she heard about the movie adaptation
The big-budget Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot as the lasso-twirling Amazonian princess, has just hit cinemas. Though it looks to be a hit and a potential franchise-in-the-making, for some people, Wonder Woman will always be Lynda Carter. The actress played the superhero and her alter ego, Diana Prince, on the TV version that aired from 1975 to 1979.
Since Carter retired her invisible plane, she’s gone on to voice work for video games, produced three albums (she was a singer/songwriter before she started acting, and is currently recording a new album in Nashville), and played plenty of other roles, including the president of the United States on the TV show Supergirl.
There’s been a big gap between when you played Wonder Woman and now – why did it take so long to bring this iconic character to the big screen?
They needed the voice of a strong female director who got it. Patty Jenkins was able to convince people that her vision was the right vision. She gets it. It isn’t about a caper – no pun intended – but it’s more about who Wonder Woman is inside, and the people who understand how I played her understand that.
So who is Wonder Woman?
She is strong, and she can do anything, and there’s this goodness to her. There’s beauty and strength that transcend time and events. People relate to her – we are her. You and I are her, and that’s why you see those little signs and T-shirts that say things like “Wonder Woman works here” or “My mom is Wonder Woman”. Patty was able to bring that all to the screen.
You played that character for a long time, and you’re so closely identified with her – what was it like seeing someone else play her?
When it was first given a green light, it would be dishonest of me to say I didn’t have a little pang of “well, here it goes”. But after my first conversation with Patty, I felt I had linked arms with a woman I would go though the rest of my life with. And then when I met Gal, I linked the other arm with her. The three of us really understand what being on the inside of Wonder Woman’s skin feels like.
I mean, so does anyone who ever believed in herself as Wonder Woman, whether it was a little girl or a gay boy – they know, too. But there’s a perspective that comes from being famous for it.
Do we need Wonder Woman again at this moment?
Timing-wise, it’s perfect. I was just writing an email to Patty about this – more than 40 years ago they told me: “We’re gonna do a pilot, but honestly, a woman won’t be able to sustain an hour of TV. Who’s going to watch that?”
And in some ways, we’ve taken a step back – Patty didn’t tell me this, but I just know that it wasn’t easy to make this movie. You know she had to fight for every little thing to keep her vision honest.
What do you make of these women-only screenings of the movie?
I think they’re fabulous! That anyone would whine about it – they are extra screenings; they are not excluding anyone. It’s a statement, but I think we need to start spreading the news about a feminism that doesn’t marginalise the men in our lives. We can do something different. And the movie shows that. We have to start spreading that news – that real men change poopy diapers and coach the soccer team and let their daughters paint toenails all kinds of colours.