Who Is Patty Jenkins?
Patricia Lea Jenkins (born July 24, 1971) is an American film screenwriter and director. She directed the Academy-Award winning film Monster (2003) and Wonder Woman (2017), the highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time. Jenkins was nominated for the Bloomberg 50 and for TIME Person of the Year in 2017. She is the first ever woman director of an American studio superhero movie.
Patty Jenkins directed the Warner Bros./DC Comics blockbuster featuring Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman which was released in June 2017. The film has been well-received by critics and set numerous box office records. In November 2017, the film topped $821.74 million, beating out 2002's Spider-Man and making it the highest-grossing superhero origin film of all time and the highest-grossing film directed by a woman to date. The American Film Institute selected Wonder Woman as one of the top 10 movies of the year in 2017 and Warner Bros. has launched a campaign to garner Wonder Woman 15 academy award nominations including Best Picture, which would make it the first superhero movie to do so. Jenkins’ work creating Wonder Woman focuses on celebrating women’s empowerment, love, and truth. Wonder Woman’s popularity signifies increasing interest in strong women characters in the film industry.
Patty Jenkins’ writer-directorial film debut was the Academy-Award winning film Monster: a 2003 crime drama about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, played by Charlize Theron. In preparation for the film, Jenkins became pen pals with Wuornos during her incarceration. Their friendship helped Jenkins to create a highly realistic character for her film. In fact, Theron won numerous awards for her portrayal of Wuornos, including the Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe Award for Best Actress and the Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress. Jenkins won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and received the Franklin J. Schaffner Alumni Medal from the American Film Institute. Roger Ebert named Monster as The #1 Best Film of 2004 and #3 Best Film of the decade.
Early Life and Family
Jenkins was born July 24, 1971 in George Air Force Base, Victorville, California but spent most of her childhood in Lawrence, Kansas. Her father, William T. Jenkins of Alconbury, England was a decorated captain and fighter pilot in the Air Force who fought in the Vietnam War. Her mother, Emily Roth, is a retired environmental scientist who oversaw the cleanup of Superfund sites for the Environmental Protection Agency.
After receiving her undergraduate degree from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1993, Jenkins worked as a painter but transitioned to film making and completed her masters in directing from the American Film Institute (AFI) in 2000. In 2007 Jenkins married Sam Sheridan, a writer and former firefighter. The couple have a son together.
Entertainment Career and Awards
Jenkins’ career in the entertainment industry spans commercials, TV programs (including Fox's Arrested Development, HBO's Entourage, and AMC's The Killing pilot), short films, and major motion pictures. Her upcoming projects include: a horror series titled Riprore to premiere on the VOD service Shudder, a TNT limited series drama, One Day She'll Darken, which was penned by her author husband Sam Sheridan, and the Wonder Woman sequel, set to be released in 2019. Jenkins was nominated for the Bloomberg 50 due to her successes in finance, entertainment, and global business in 2017. Jenkins was also selected as a runner up for TIME Person of the Year in 2017 for her contributions to women’s empowerment and her fascinating portrayal of strong women characters. As stated in a recent TIME interview, for both Aileen Wuornos and Wonder Woman, Jenkins aimed for greatness:
“I’m as interested in exceptional characters as men are. It’s very easy for me to be curious about what it’s like to be [killer] Aileen Wuornos, just as I am about what it’s like to be Wonder Woman. And in both cases, I think it’s about what you do with power…I want greatness. To me, aiming for greatness in a day might mean you work 20% harder, but you make that day worth it 10 times over.”
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