Wonder Woman dominated the box office and the pop culture zeitgeist this summer, but it’s Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (out Oct. 27) that should have LGBT fans excited. The film explores the love affair between Harvard psychologist — and Wonder Woman creator — William Moulton Marston (played by out actor Luke Evans), his wife, Elizabeth (Rebecca Hall), and the Tufts University student Olive (Bella Heathcote) with whom they enter into a polyamorous relationship. The movie also delves into BDSM, something prevalent in their private lives as well as in the original Wonder Woman comic books (scandalous for the time).
If the subject matter and star weren’t enough of an LGBT draw, the film is helmed by a queer cavalcade:Transparent creator Jill Soloway, veteran producer Andrea Sperling (But I’m a Cheerleader), Clare Munn (who made headlines for her relationship with actress Maria Bello), and famed lesbian director Angela Robinson (above, D.E.B.S.,The L Word), who we pinned down for a few questions.
What was the inspiration for Professor Marston?
I came at this film first and foremost as a Wonder Woman fan. I’ve loved the character of Wonder Woman ever since I was a kid. My film explores Marston’s conception of Wonder Woman while at the same time shedding light on the story of the two women who were the inspiration for her, Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne.
Tell me about capturing the emotional depth of Professor Marston.
To me, this is a love story. Bill, Elizabeth, and Olive were psychologists and academics who were obsessed with studying human emotion. It was important to me to capture all of the micro-beats of their romance and intimacy. They are all tied together, both literally and figuratively — hyper aware of each other, reacting to every look and touch and tonality of voice. I think that’s how it feels when you’re falling in love and I wanted to capture the density of those emotions.
What surprised you about doing this film?
Honestly, I began this whole journey many years ago thinking Marston was kind of a crack-pot. Writing the film for me was a way for me to wrestle with Marston’s contradictory and, at times, I felt, deeply problematic theories on women and feminism and bondage and human nature. But now I think Marston was onto something very true and profound. He and Elizabeth and Olive were trying to save the world with their ideas. And he created a superhero that was about love instead of war, a warrior for peace and freedom — not just the patriotic notion of freedom, but freedom to be yourself.