David E. Kelley is not a popular man among nerdtown right now, if the majority of reader comments in our last “Wonder Woman” post, which featured your first look at star Adrianne Palicki in costume from the show are any indication.
Kelley recently spoke to Vulture about his career and times, as well as his decision to do Wonder Woman, which comes at the end of a very long article. Here is why he decided to jump into the superhero game, even though he’s known primarily as the writer of kooky lawyer shows and other shows about kooky characters, not necessarily a resume for, you know, superhero TV:
Well I first said no, for all the obvious reasons. It’s not really what I do; it’s not a genre that’s in my wheelhouse. But then I started thinking about, What if there were such a person in today’s world and what must it be like to be her? And I was imagining the sense of social isolation that she must feel, that she indeed would probably be a rather complicated beast. When I started thinking about all the complications and potential layers to this superhero, I just got more and more intrigued. It was also something I was a little bit afraid of. That’s good, too. Any writer should get out of his or her comfort zone, and this was way outside of mine.
So I took a deep breath and decided to go for it. I did not truthfully commit to doing it until I wrote the script. I was going to try writing it, and if I failed on my own terms, I would say no. If I thought, Yeah, this is something I believe in, then I’d turn it in. And it was something I ultimately did get behind. It was hard, but I had a good time writing it. And Warner Bros. and DC both responded very positively — and off we went.
As to casting Adrianne Palicki in the title role:
It was not an easy search, but it went far quicker than I ever imagined. After writing this script, I remember looking at several people and going, “Yeah, now good luck trying to find her.” She’s got to be strong, smart, emotionally accessible — and oh yeah, an Amazon! Good luck. I remember speaking to DC, and saying, “We may have to compromise on the physicality. We need to go with the best actress. And if the best actress is five-foot-five, we have to be open to that, because there’s too many layers for this character to also demand that she be nearly six feet tall.” And then lo and behold, in comes this girl named Adrianne Palicki.
I had seen her on Friday Night Lights and I always liked her work, but I didn’t get a sense of her stature. I guess he was sitting down in a lot of the scenes. So she stood up, and we met — eyeball to eyeball — she smiled … and I knew during the course of the conversation that this was Wonder Woman. I just knew it. I had an instinctive feeling that this was her. So then she read. And she was. And she is.
I don’t envy Kelley’s current situation. He’s obviously a supremely talented writer (if you like, you know, shows about kooky lawyers and kooky people, I mean), but man, he’s really taking a leap off the bridge by doing a “Wonder Woman” TV show. Here’s hoping the show avoids many of the pitfalls that convinced me I could never actually watch a David E. Kelley program without, you know, blowing my brains out.