Lexi Alexander on Why She Won't Direct Wonder Woman: 'Imagine If It Fails'
Many names have been thrown out in response to reports that Warner Bros. is seeking a female director for their upcoming Wonder Woman solo film, and Lexi Alexander almost always tops the list. She is the only woman to have directed a superhero film- 2008's Punisher: War Zone, which is considered by many fans to be the best feature film version of the iconic character. But in spite of her unique pedigree, she wouldn't touch Wonder Woman with a ten-foot pole.
"Imagine the weight on my shoulders," said Alexander in a recent interview with >Fast Company. "How many male superhero movies fail? So now, we finally get Wonder Woman with a female director; imagine if it fails. And you have no control over marketing, over budget. So without any control, you carry the f-ing weight of gender equality for both characters and women directors. No way."
After years of fans clamoring for more female superhero movies, all three major studios have films in the works. But Wonder Woman will arguably have the highest stakes, as it will be released in 2016, one year before Marvel's Captain Marvel and Sony's female-led Sinister Six spin-off. Fair or not, as the first female superhero movie to be released since Elektra flopped in 2005, it will inevitably be viewed as a test for whether the genre can be successful or not. And, as Alexander pointed out, the reputation of female directors is also at stake, as none of the recent mainstream superhero films have been directed by a woman and Nicole Perlman, co-writer of Guardians of the Galaxy, is the only woman to have a significant role behind the scenes.
Alexander told Forbes that, contrary to recent rumors, she was not the director who was reportedly approached by Warner Bros. "If she says yes, everybody will be very happy, including me," she said, although she added, "I don't see at this point why anyone would say yes. There is huge pressure…. If [a female director] does fail, then all of a sudden it's 'All women suck at directing.'"
Alexander also discussed her first-hand experience with sexism in the industry, as her Punisher film abruptly had a $15 million budget cut after she was named director. She believes that the shareholders were scared off by the idea of a female director helming a superhero movie. "I don't have proof for that," she said, "but there were 20 people around me who said the same thing."