Telling ‘Won­der Wo­man’ cre­ator’s ori­gin story

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - TAP WEEKEND - MARK OLSEN

Writer-di­rec­tor An­gela Robin­son first came to the story of Wil­liam Moul­ton Marston, El­iz­a­beth Marston and Olive Byrne more than eight years ago as, in her words, “a straight-up Won­der Wo­man fan.”

This was well be­fore the re­cent rush of books on the ori­gins of the char­ac­ter and cer­tainly with­out any idea that her project on the three of them would come out in the wake of the land­mark suc­cess of a “Won­der Wo­man” movie.

Robin­son’s “Pro­fes­sor Marston and the Won­der Women,” open­ing in the­aters Fri­day, tells the story of how Wil­liam Marston, a psy­chol­o­gist, came to cre­ate the char­ac­ter of Won­der Wo­man and the ear­li­est in­car­na­tions of the comic — and also of the un­con­ven­tional life he led with his wife, El­iz­a­beth, and their mu­tual girl­friend, Olive.

The cen­tral trio of per­form­ers of Luke Evans, Re­becca Hall and Bella Heathcote — play­ing Wil­liam, El­iz­a­beth and Olive, re­spec­tively — have an elec­tric chem­istry among them, giv­ing the film a lively, un­pre­dictable en­ergy that is by turns ro­man­tic, sen­sual and de­fi­ant.

Robin­son thought at first she was re­search­ing the story of a man, his wife and his mis­tress, but she soon dis­cov­ered their dy­namic was deeper than that.

El­iz­a­beth Marston and Olive Byrne stayed to­gether for 38 years af­ter the death of Wil­liam Marston in 1947.

“I quickly was like, ‘I can’t tell a movie about Won­der Wo­man with­out ex­plor­ing the women,’ ” said Robin­son. “And I feel like that’s what Marston was en­gaged in, too, his fas­ci­na­tion that man­i­fested in Won­der Wo­man.

“For me, it was al­ways how did he get to Won­der Wo­man, and how he got there was through his re­la­tion­ship with th­ese two women.”

GETTY IM­AGES

Ac­tress Bella Heathcote (from left), di­rec­tor An­gela Robin­son, ac­tress Re­becca Hall and ac­tor Luke Evans at­tend the “Pro­fes­sor Marston and the Won­der Women” meet-and-greet at New York’s For­bid­den Planet on Oct. 9 in New York City.

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