Connie Nielsen is praising her Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, saying she “comes from a place of strength.” Nielsen has long been associated with strong roles, whether it be in her pivotal performance as the emperor’s daughter Lucilla opposite Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix in director Ridley Scott’s Best Picture Oscar winner Gladiator in 2000; or as the conniving modern-day “Lady Macbeth” Meredith Kane opposite the Kelsey Grammer’s unscrupulous mayor of Chicago in the underrated Starz series Boss.
And while much of the early attention paid to Wonder Woman is focused on Gal Gadot in the titular role, Nielsen is starting to attract attention as the Amazon warrior princess’ equally fierce mother Queen Hippolyta – a role borne out of strong creative collaboration between her and Jenkins. In an interview with Screen Rant, Nielsen says she and Jenkins “basically spoke the same language from day one,” and what was meant to be an hour meeting between between the two stretched out to four.
Talking about her instant connection with Jenkins, Nielsen says:
“She’s also the kind of director that I really flourish under. She has very strong and particular and specific ideas about what it is she wants to say. She comes from a place of strength always. And so, when you are dealing with someone like that, you feel absolutely free to be vulnerable, to be creative, and I am a big researcher. I put a lot of effort into research and I brought all of that research back and you can always tell if somebody is interested or not, and the fact that she was interested and made sure that there was space for all of that research and space for those nuances … every time I wanted to try something else and maybe something that wasn’t even a part of it, shealways not only went with it, but actually was interested in exploring further with me.”
Nielsen adds that she is “crazy about” Jenkins’ compelling 2003 drama Monster, which earned Charlize Theron a Best Actress Oscar – and her hopes about what the director would bring to Wonder Woman were “confirmed every day.” Even comparing Jenkins to Scott on the set of Gladiator, Nielsen says:
“This is a woman who just rose to head such a huge vehicle. You should have seen the actual size of the crew and the studio and the setups and the amount of people she was just blithely oversee everyday. It was just like when I would see Ridley standing in the middle of Malta, this fort in Malta, and chomping on his cigar and just looking happy. It was the same thing kind of with Patty. That kind of real comfort on a set.”
While Jenkins had the comfort going into Wonder Woman knowing Gadot’s capabilities thanks to the actress’ scene-stealing role in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the director on the flip-side was saddled with the pressure of finding the right Queen Hippolyta for Wonder Woman. Jenkins clearly scored the perfect actress with Nielsen – and along with her astute casting Robin Wright as Diana’s aunt General Antiope, Jenkins’ collaborations with the acclaimed actresses has no doubt built the essential, rock-solid foundation Wonder Woman needed as an origins film to resonate with audiences.