Wonder Womanis a movie that thrives on its ability to be funny, empowering and corny — a word director Patty Jenkins loves — all at once. It’s a testimony to writer Allan Heinberg’s talents, but one of the best scenes in the movie was completely improvised.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Wonder Woman.]
In between the first and second acts of the film, there’s a moment where Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), the American spy who accidentally ended up on the mystical island of Themyscira, are trying to get comfortable on a small boat before turning in for the night. After creating a makeshift bed for Wonder Woman to sleep in, the two engage in a pretty funny back-and-forth about the intimate relationships human men and woman share.
It’s a little lengthy to summarize, but let’s just say it ends with one of the best lines in the movie, which ended with “when it comes to procreation, men are essential, but for pleasure, not necessary.”
In an interview last month with Entertainment Weekly, Gadot and Pine confirmed that the entire scene was improvised. The magazine reported that Jenkins allowed Gadot and Pine to improvise quite a bit, letting them find their chemistry and bring out the best humor.
“When it comes to procreation, men are essential, but for pleasure, not necessary”
It’s a defining moment for the characters and their relationship, which is personally my favorite aspect of the film, but the scene acts as more than just that. The open dialogue the two can have about how men and women are seen to each other in relationships and how society views their roles is a strong underlying theme in the film. Gadot said she wanted to demonstrate that her character would never talk about how men should treat or respond to women, but rather act on her own ideas and will.
“It was important to me that my character would never come and preach about how men should treat women,” Gadot told Entertainment Weekly. “Or how women should perceive themselves. It was more about playing oblivious to society’s rules. ‘What do you mean women can’t go into the Parliament? Why?’”
Pine manages to play off Gadot’s lead perfectly. When Wonder Woman asks Trevor questions about why men or women do certain things in his world, he never treats her like less than him or as an idiot. Instead, the two manage to have a heartfelt, interesting conversation about relationship constructs, with Gadot using her role as an outsider to point out just how archaic it all seems. Remember, this takes place at the end of the first World War.
The scene could have been offensive or silly, but Jenkins, Pine and Gadot all managed to make it one of the most sincere moments between Trevor and Wonder Woman. It sets the course for their relationship and, as those who have seen the movie will know, that’s what keeps the audience invested the entire way through.
Wonder Woman is currently playing in theaters worldwide.
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