In honour of Patty Jenkins’ summer blockbuster Wonder Woman coming out on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download this week, we had a chat with actor Lucy Davis, the woman behind everyone’s favourite 1940s secretary Etta Candy, about the character, the sequel and what Wonder Woman means to her…
SciFiNow: How did you end up getting involved with Wonder Woman?
Lucy Davis: I literally auditioned over in Los Angeles, and I didn’t know it was Wonder Woman at first. The scenes I was reading came through in all these secret codes and you had to put passwords in. You couldn’t take a screenshot of the lines, and if you put a cursor on the screen, it would just blur. I felt like I was in Mission Impossible and thought it was going to explode when I finished. Characters were called different things. Etta was called Fran. When I went to the audition, they had my sign a non-disclosure agreement, and then I told everyone, obviously. It was one tape, and it was sent to everyone, because everyone was in England at the time ironically, and then I heard they liked it so I Skyped with Patty [Jenkins, the film’s director], and we talked about the character for about 30 seconds, and then talked for an hour about stuff we liked. That was lovely.
What did you think when you found out that it was actually Wonder Woman you were auditioning for?
I will say I was really excited. Sometimes you feel like you have to say, ‘oh yeah, it was another job,’ but it isn’t another job. It was really fun! I was really glad that I was a part of it. I loved Wonder Woman when I was a kid, I grew up with it… I was obsessed with it, actually, and with the Superman with Christopher Reeve. So I was really like, ‘Oooh, this is exciting!’ When it was still a big secret, I did wonder if it was some sort of superhero movie. I thought they were making another Superman again or something, so I was really glad that it was this origin film that hadn’t been done before, and also that I was playing this character that Patty and I chatted about a lot in the end and she gave me quite a bit of freedom with, and I thought she was fabulous. She is unapologetically herself, and it took me a while in my life to be that. I loved playing her.
It’s rare that you find a funny female sidekick in action films like this, so was it refreshing being able to play a character like Etta?
Truly! Yes! She is quite a character, and I had a lot of freedom playing her. I’ve loved lots and lots of things that I’ve done, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt quite so unencumbered as I did playing her. I loved the fact that Etta was put in there for a bit of comic relief. I felt that responsibility on my shoulders and I enjoyed it, and then when I watched the movie I thought, no, but look at Chris Pine! He’s hilarious! He made me laugh on set, but when I watched the movie, I was like, ‘Well, yeah, look at him! He’s so funny!’
There are rumours that Wonder Woman 2 is being set in the Eighties, so would you be up for coming back as a really old version of Etta?
[Laughs] I’d be up for coming back! I have no idea actually, about the second movie, but I have heard different things. The Eighties would be cool, I loved the Eighties! I’m a real Eighties child. I had Dynasty hair and I still now listen to Eighties music more than any other. So that would be good, let’s get that rumour going more.
I would love to see Etta in a full length Muumuu with curlers in her hair.
Oh my god! That would be magic! When I was 15 I went through my Eighties punk phase where I had the biggest hair in the world. It had its own postcode. And then the maddest, weirdest clothes where everything is bright and colourful and nothing matches. I don’t know anything about the second film though. I don’t even know if I’m in it! But if I’m not, I’ll go and see it.
Did you do anything special to prepare to play Etta?
I found out all I could about Etta because I hadn’t heard of her before this. Reading, googling, all that kind of thing… I found out about all the incarnations of Etta that there had been, different nationalities. Etta married Steve Trevor in one, so I feel like that’s another rumour we should get going… Just because I’m committed to my craft…
Why do you think so many people are able to relate to the character of Wonder Woman?
I think we can relate because we all want to relate. We’re living in a time that is difficult at the moment, and there are a lot of emotions running high and that’s very understandable. And along comes this woman who is in the middle of the Great War and still manages to see what there is to like about people. I think, for me, if we could do that I feel like we’d heal a little bit. One of the messages in the film that I keep seeing a hashtag of is only love can save the world. Sometimes that can sound a bit corny or trite, but actually if you break it down into what it actually means, it is something that I absolutely believe in and agree with.
When you shame someone or guilt someone or spite someone, it doesn’t change them, it just makes them go underground. Change only comes from being the example you want to see in others. That’s what I think, anyway. At the end of the film, when Diana is fighting Ares, the god of war, you have to remember that I don’t really know the script because we were only given our scenes. So really, it was quite new to me when I was watching the end, I didn’t fully know what was going to happy. So I watched it and I thought, once she had realised Steve had died, she had this anger in her that made her get further than she had got with Ares, but it still didn’t work. But when she took a beat and realised what he’d said to her, which had previously been in silence for us, about love, it changed everything. Not only did she win, she won effortlessly. I watched that and I cried! I was like, you, me, everyone hears what that is: anger will get you further for sure, and it will motivate you into some kind of action, but when you actually remember who we really are and we’re all just trying to best that we can, you can take your foot off the pedal a bit and show some compassion. I think it gets much further. But that’s just my little opinion.
Etta Candy famously loves chocolate, so what is your favourite chocolate?
Really only Cadbury’s. I’m quite fussy in that way. I think they stopped little Cadbury’s being sold in the States, which is a terrible, terrible shame. But there are some stores that do manage to get it in, some little English stores dotted about. Any Cadbury’s. Cadbury’s Boost. That’ll do.
Cadbury’s Boost is the king of chocolate.
Yes. Dipped in tea.
Wonder Woman is out now on Digital Download, 4K UHD, Blu-ray™ 3D, Blu-ray™ and DVD. Get all the latest superhero movie news with every issue of SciFiNow.