JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II Interview: Stana Katic On Finding Real-Life Inspiration For Her Wonder Woman

JUSTICE SOCIETY: WORLD WAR II Interview: Stana Katic On Finding Real-Life Inspiration For Her Wonder Woman

Justice Society: World War II star Stana Katic talks to us about her role as Diana Prince in the DC Animated project, revealing real-life inspiration and delving into Wonder Woman's place in the team.

Justice Society: World War II arrives on streaming platforms on April 27th, 2021, and hits 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray and Blu-Ray on May 11th, 2021. This next entry in the DC Animated Universe sees The Flash thrust into the midst of an epic battle between Golden Age DC Super Heroes the Justice Society and Nazis for an adventure that definitely doesn't play out the way you might be expecting. 

Picking up with Barry Allen in the present day, prior to the formation of the Justice League, the Scarlet Speedster discovers he can run even faster than he imagined, and that milestone results in his first encounter with the Speed Force. Arriving in WWII, he finds himself joining forces with a Golden Age team made up of Wonder Woman, Hourman, Black Canary, Hawkman, Steve Trevor, and Jay Garrick.

Stana Katic plays Diana Prince in the movie and delivers a fresh interpretation of the iconic DC Comics superheroes fans are going to love. As well as starring in hit TV shows like Castle and Absentia, Stana is well-known to comic book fans after voicing Lois Lane in Superman: Unbound and Talia al Ghul in Batman: Arkham City (find more on a possible return to the latter role by clicking here).

Taking on a character like Wonder Woman is huge, though, but it's a challenge the Justice Society: World War II star was fully on board with. In this interview, Stana talks to us about finding real-life historical inspiration in her portrayal of the character, Diana's leadership role, and much, much more.
 

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Not many people have had the opportunity to play Wonder Woman, so what did it mean to you when the offer came through to take on the role in this movie?  

I was aware that Butch [Lukic] and Wes [Gleason] were going to be helming the project, so I had a tremendous amount of confidence that it was going to be something exceptional and truly special. It was a no-brainer. I couldn’t wait to jump on board and work with those guys. 

Having previously voiced characters like Lois Lane and Talia al Ghul, what would you say excites you most about playing these strong female characters in the DC Universe? 

They’re all a little different, right? I think what’s beautiful is that I could possibly play a character other people would identify with and that maybe, through watching these sorts of films, could empower a child or an adult to do brave through the days. 

It’s pretty cool that Wonder Woman has an accent in this movie, but was that an idea you brought to the project or something you were asked to work on for the role?

It was a question that I had, and the guys were already clear on wanting to honour Wonder Woman’s mythology by her having an accent, and by that, I mean Butch and Wes. For me, it was an interesting task to imagine what one of these Scythian, Elysian, Thracian-like warrior women might have sounded like today. I wanted to reach into the origins of the Amazon story and I think the guys, as well, were looking for something in that realm. So yeah, I pulled from that history and then considering it was World War II and my grandmother survived that, I gave it a little touch of her too. 

We’ve seen Wonder Woman in a period setting before, but this version is still so different to what’s come before; what did you most enjoy about this pulpy, World War II setting?

I loved it. I thought that what Butch did with this story and the visuals was he paid homage to a lot of the classic Wonder Woman stories. That was a gift for me because it feels like you’re playing in a world that has a pedigree with a group of people who really love those stories and respect the predecessors. 

Before you signed on to the project, did you know a lot about the Justice Society and were you a Wonder Woman fan?

I feel like Wonder Woman was a part of my consciousness since childhood. I remember seeing the television show reruns when I was young and Butch’s Batman: The Animated Series was on as well when I was a kid, and we would watch that to get familiarised with some of the characters that way. I feel like this has been part of my consciousness throughout my life and that I’ve been educated since childhood on this [Laughs].

It must have been great seeing your Wonder Woman being the leader of this team rather than just another member as she has been in some Justice League movies?

Definitely. That was something that, once again, Butch and Wes were focused on. They wanted to make sure we had that as a guidepost; that she felt she was in the element of leadership, she held herself with strength and a certain amount of command. That was a great guidepost throughout the performance, but I think that in the end, for audiences, the ones that are familiar with this world and enjoy this take on that version of the comics, are going to enjoy how empowered this character is and how much she contributes to the team and the globe. 
 

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For your performance, did you look at any of the previous live-action or animated Wonder Women for inspiration, or were you keen, from day one, to make the character your own? 

I didn’t look at that for inspiration for the character. The inspiration was very much the world of these ancients and where the Amazons actually came from. If you look at the book by Jeannine Davis-Kimball (who was an archaeologist who worked in South-East Russia and that area), she believed that the Amazons were originally Scythians or Sarmatians, so I thought that was something to reach for. The Thracian element too, of course, because the Amazons originally came from around the Black Sea, and the Elyrian historical relevance to that world as well. These were all places to reach for. At the time I was recording the first version of the film, I was in Bulgaria, so I was able to grab a bit of that too. Being exposed to Greeks and Greek culture too, those were all inspirations.

To be inspired from a film for the performance, I don’t think that was part of the trajectory for me. However, I did see a lot of different versions of Wonder Woman, primarily because I’m just keen on it and interested in watching that. This is a character that I have gotten a tremendous amount of inspiration from growing up, and this is a character now that I see even my nieces are being inspired by. Because of quarantine, we’ve had to adjust family living and a lot of the family has come to live with us, so we’ve been taking care of nieces and nephews. I actually had to take one of my nieces to emergency recently and she was nervous while we were waiting. So, I played her a bunch of Wonder Woman clips from different films and TV shows, and I could tell that it boosted her spirits, especially those moments where it was a young Wonder Woman, she completely related to it and was empowered instantaneously. She was able to bravely face what it was we were about to face together, and when I see things like that and also identify with those experiences myself, I think that’s what is part of the privilege of performing these sorts of characters and superheroes, and bringing them to audiences.

Diana and Steve’s relationship is really unique, and the way she turns down his proposals is a great running joke; what’s your take on why she’s not quite ready to say yes?

I think that, in many ways, she sees how the world is in greater need of her full-time focus. I think that’s a mistake she realises towards the end, and it’s part of what we’re all experiencing right now. Even if the world is collapsing around you, don’t forget to trust those little moments of love in between. 

When you get to see the finished version of an animated project like this one, what’s your reaction to seeing this badass warrior version of Wonder Woman in action?

[Laughs] I loved the performances of all of my colleagues. I was blown away by what they brought to the characters and how they enriched the moments between characters. To see Butch’s animation up on screen, I was just proud to be part of the project alongside all of these other people. We have a beautiful, amazing, and incredible cast, and our leaders between Butch and Wes meant we were just really blessed. 

Also Read: JSA: WWII Director Jeff Wamester Explains His Fresh Take On The Golden Age Team
Also Read: Matt Bomer On Playing The Flash, How It Compares To Superman, & More
Also Read: Elysia Rotaru On Her Badass Black Canary And Why She Loves She-Hulk
Also Read: Liam McIntyre On Getting To Play A Badass, Very Different Aquaman
Also Read: Armen Taylor On His Personal Connection To Jay Garrick And The JSA
Also Read: Omid Abtahi On Bringing Diversity And More Than Muscle To Hawkman
Also Read: Co-Writer Jeremy Adams On Adding The Flash To The World Of The JSA
Also Read: Matthew Mercer On Helping Hourman Shine In A Group Of God-Like Heroes
Also Read: Co-Writer Meghan Fitzmartin On The Film's Incredible Roster Of Heroes
Also Read: Chris Diamantopoulos On How He Crafted The Perfect Steve Trevor
 

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