When audiences packed theaters to see Wonder Woman last weekend, one of the highlights of the first third of the film was Ann Wolfe, a legend in the boxing community and one of the greatest female boxers ever to fight professionally, who played Artemis.
Back in March, director Patty Jenkins confirmed that Wolfe, who had been seen in set photos hanging out with other Amazons, would play Artemis of Bana-Mighdall, the fearsome, crossbow-wielding warrior who is loyal ally of the Amazon princess. Created by writer William Messner-Loebs and artist Mike Deodato, Artemis first appeared in the September 1994 issue of Wonder Woman (#90), and would briefly go on to serve as Wonder Woman when Diana abandoned the identity. She was a major part of the fan-favorite Wonder Woman animated movie that came out years ago.
“The legend [Ann Wolfe] is our Artemis!!” Jenkins tweeted. “Who else should be one of the greatest warrior Amazons, but the best female boxer in history.”
But how did she get there?
“Patty Jenkins’ husband Sam Sheridan was a Thai boxer. He had written a book about the sport and so he knew who I was and so did Patty,” Wolfe told Black Film. “The character Artemis is an ass kicker and that’s me, a real kind-hearted person but rough around the edges and not afraid to fight. They had already started auditions and Patty was like, ‘I want Ann Wolfe to play this part.’ They called me up and at first, the producers were skeptical and said that ‘Ann Wolfe had not done one single acting lesson.’ They asked if I could come down for a week to see if I could play the part. I got there and met Patty and Gal Gadot. Gal looked at me and then looked at Patty and said ‘This is Artemis.’ Chris Pine came over and he was kind and polite. The next day I went to the gym and Connie Nielsen came in and she didn’t know who I was. I had to lose 20 to 30 pounds so I could train myself. They ordered everything I needed including a driver and cook. Then she sat by me and we spoke for an hour, had dinner and she also said, ‘You’re Artemis!’ In boxing, I had to prove myself in everything I have ever done. This was the first time the producers were skeptical but everyone else on the set believed I could do it. I never had that happened to me in my life.”
That “you’re Artemis” moment was not immediate, though — and like many fans, Wolfe first suspected she would be playing a historically-black Amazon when she was approached to be in the movie.
“At first, because they didn’t tell me who I was playing, I was looking up Philippus,” Wolfe admitted. “Then I was told that’s not who I would be playing, and I was like, ‘Huh?’ Who else is black from her world? Then I was told it would be Artemis. I was like, ‘Artemis is a red-head white lady.’ After I looked up her background, then I knew I am Artemis.”
Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
Joining Gadot in the international cast are Chris Pine, Connie Nielsen, Robin Wright, David Thewlis, Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, Ewen Bremner and Saïd Taghmaoui. Patty Jenkins directs the film from a screenplay by Allan Heinberg and Geoff Johns, story by Zack Snyder and Allan Heinberg, based on characters from DC Entertainment. Wonder Woman was created by William Moulton Marston.
The film is produced by Charles Roven, Zack Snyder, Deborah Snyder and Richard Suckle, with Rebecca Roven, Stephen Jones, Wesley Coller and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers. Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with RatPac-Dune Entertainment, an Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual production, Wonder Woman.
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