Long time fans of comic book superheroine and bullet deflector Wonder Woman have been jerked around for years now, with promises of a movie or TV show in the works. It never happens. Now the CW is getting itself in gear for Amazon, a Smallville-esque take on the Wonder Woman myth. I’ll believe it when I see it. It wasn’t that long ago when NBC scrapped a version of the show, after all. So, why is Wonder Woman so hard to get on screen? There are several theories, but I have one that might be a little outrageous: I think it’s because Wonder Woman is too damn tall.
Let me break it down for you like I just got lassoed with a glowing gold rope and all I can do is tell the truth. The hardest part about finding a Wonder Woman is casting. The first question when the subject comes up is who will play the superhero. Basically Lynda Carter is the only woman who can do it. Wonder Woman is tall, brunette, athletic, a total hard ass — and someone who has to stand up next to bad guys in a ridiculous multi-colored leotard and manage not to look like she isn’t walking down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras. That shouldn’t be too hard to pull off. Brunette is simple in the age of the weave. We have more female athletes, professional and otherwise, than ever. If Aubrey Plaza and Kristen Ritter can pull off hard-ass in a comedy, it should be easy action fare.
But tall? Who in Hollywood is tall? Sarah Michelle Gellar was at one time rumored to put on the star-studded knickers, but she is 5’4″. That is only a few inches bigger than Snooki. Even in platform boots she’s going to look tiny. Jessica Biel, who seems like she would be tall enough to play Diana, is only 5’8″ — which is only a few inches above average (she also has the problem of not being able to, you know, act). Sigourney Weaver, now sadly too old for the part, is a healthy 6′, a perfect height. But how many other women in Hollywood are that big? Few, very few.
Surely, Weaver’s height is above average for a woman, but it is especially tall for women in Hollywood. What do you always hear about famous people? “Oh, he’s shorter in person.” Yes, almost all actors are tiny, and not just the ones who play hobbits, Ewoks, and Tyrion Lannister on Game of Thrones. They’re all short. And guys need to appear taller than their leading ladies on camera, so the girls have to be short too. Salma Hayek, Kristen Bell, Reese Witherspoon, Eva Longoria, Ellen Page, Amy Poehler, all the Olsens, and two of the Kardashians are all 5’2″ or under. How can we find someone to play Wonder Woman in this talent pool?
The answer is, we won’t. We probably never will. And the reason is because there aren’t enough qualified Amazonians to find the perfect one for Amazon. Maybe the series needs to start with the Double-Double-You getting hit with a shrink ray. That’s the only way that we’re ever going to solve our Wonder Woman casting problem. And that’s the long and short of it.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
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