While many fans are worried how creator David E. Kelley’s new television series about the Amazonian Princess will turn out, it seems no one was more worried than Kelley himself.
Kelley spoke with Vulture about his lengthy career, both the ups and downs, but managed to get in a little information about the inception of his Wonder Woman project for NBC. He said in the beginning he said no to working on the show for obvious reasons. “It’s not really what I do; it’s not a genre that’s in my wheelhouse,” he said, “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,” said Kelley, suggesting that writers need to get out of their comfort zones once in a while.
And with that, he jumped head first out of his comfort zone. “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.”
As to the casting of Adrianne Palicki in the title role, Kelley said although it was a challenge, the process didn’t take very long. “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,” he said.
With all that in mind, Kelley was prepared to go with an actress who didn’t quite look the role if it meant she encapsulated everything else. “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 she was sitting down in a lot of the scenes,” said Kelley, “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.”