The inspiration for Wonder Woman's cinematic interpretation of Dr. Maru may surprise you.
With a supervillain nickname like "Dr. Poison," you would be forgiven for assuming that actress Elena Anaya looked to pulps and Golden Age comic books for inspiration for her character, especially considering Maru is a Golden Age comic book villain herself. However, Anaya actually turned to the real world for her inspiration.
"When you read a comic book script and then you're responsible for approaching a character like this, you think, 'Well, how is it possible that somebody invented a character like this?'" Anaya explains to The Verge. "And then, unfortunately, I realized that more than ever, there are evil people in real life. They are on television, they are very powerful people, and they don't wear masks like Dr. Maru wears. These people are villains in real life, hurting a lot of people, and they're doing a lot of damage to mankind."
Once Anaya had that realization, it became a matter of doing her history homework.
"The other answer is, I did my research about World War I. There was a terrible moment when the army and science came together. I researched Fritz Haber, the chemist who created mustard gas. His personal history was very scary. He was a chemist in a beautiful marriage with another chemist. He wanted to be a powerful man, recognized by everybody. But his wife begged him to stop. The night before the first gas-bomb test, he said, 'I'm not going to stop,' so she killed herself with his gun. You imagine this tortured person going to bomb tests with his wife dead in his house, with his love passed away in the process."
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Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, Princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that's raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.
Wonder Woman is directed by Patty Jenkins, from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg & Geoff Johns, story by Heinberg & Zack Snyder and Jason Fuchs, and stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Lucy Davis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and David Thewlis.
Wonder Woman in now playing in theaters.
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