Coming up with Cheetah's design in Wonder Woman 1984 was a challenge according to director Patty Jenkins. During a Twitter Q&A session, a fan asked Jenkins about how hard it was to choose a look for the sequel's villain, who is played by Kristen Wiig. Jenkins replied, "Extremely hard. We wanted it to look fantastic and that ended up being very complex. First, the most incredible design then figuring out how to execute it was a long journey. It ended up being a mix of practical and visual effects but it was worth it to make it look amazing!"
Lindy Hemming, the costume designer on Wonder Woman 1984, spoke to ComicBook.com earlier this month about designing Cheetah's look. "How you tackle everything doing a superhero film to me, is you investigate the characters as much as you can find, the same way the characters are trying to find the character inside this thing, whatever suit it is," Hemming said. "Patty [Jenkins] is really into all the character work, and so you approach the journey...I'm not going to talk about what happens to her, but the journey that the character makes is approached through their character. So we're looking to build, build, all the time so that you feel you know more about the person she turns into, than you would have if it was just a transformation into something."
Extremely hard. We wanted it to look fantastic and that ended up being very complex. First, the most incredible design then figuring out how to execute it was a long journey. It ended up being a mix of practical and visual effects but it was worth it to make it look amazing! https://t.co/gdXcM4zTjC— Patty Jenkins (@PattyJenks) August 18, 2020
Wiig explained in February how playing Cheetah, real named Barbara Minerva, is like playing two different characters. "I did not really know so much about Cheetah," said Wiig. "Before I even talked to Patty [Jenkins], there was an idea that maybe it might be about being a villain for the movie, so I went online and looked at all the villains of Wonder Woman to try to figure out which one, because I was so excited. And I was really, really happy to find out it was her.
"I've never really played someone who walks into the room and owns it — especially when she starts out so insecure and self-deprecating," Wiig said. "We didn't want to see Barbara in Cheetah, and I didn't want to see Kristen in Cheetah, either."
Jenkins previously offered some insight into her take on the classic DC Comics villain. "In the lore, Cheetah is often someone who's friends with Diana but jealous of her," Jenkins explained. "And I feel like Kristen's playing a character who's both ends of the spectrum — she's your warm, funny friend who's kind and interesting and then can transform into something completely different. Yes, she happens to be a woman, but she's straight out of the Gene Hackman Superman school of great, funny, tremendous actors. I don't think of her being a female villain, although she is. I feel that way about Wonder Woman, too. The female component of it is huge, but she's also just a hero, a universal hero."
Wonder Woman 1984 opens in theaters on October 2nd.