It’s September 2018, and I’m one of the few people standing in the middle of London’s financial district not dressed like it’s 1984.
The streets have been closed, the public blocked from entry, as filming continues on one of the world’s most anticipated sequels: Wonder Woman 1984.
Security is tight: before I enter the set, my phone is taped up by a producer, so I couldn’t take a photo even I tried try. These security measures don’t discriminate: Even director Patty Jenkins’ own mother has to submit to them when she visits the set.
These security measures are standard on any big movie set, but especially so for the sequel to a billion-dollar box office hit like 2017’s Wonder Woman. It’s a tricky thing to balance: Fans of the franchise are hungry for titbits of info, but Jenkins and co. want to protect even the smallest of spoilers from leaking. Much of what I hear and see on set today won’t be public knowledge until the film eventually hits cinemas several delays and more than two years later.
Chilean actor Pedro Pascal, new to the franchise and playing a Trump-esque symbol of 90s Wall Street greed named Maxwell Lord, stops by to watch a take being filmed.
Amid all these heightened security measures, he’s rather sheepish when asked about a recent highly-publicised leak that was his doing.
Pascal had gathered his co-stars – Wonder Woman herself Gal Gadot, Chris Pine (playing US pilot Steve Trevor, who appeared to die in the first film but is back for the sequel), and fellow DC newbie Kristen Wiig – for a fun photo together. Director Patty Jenkins even joined in for a loving recreation of the poster of 80s teen classic The Breakfast Club.
He’d received special permission to take the photo, provided it was not posted anywhere. In these early stages of filming, key details – Pascal’s costume, Gadot’s headband, Wiig’s very presence – could be considered spoilers.
So what happened? Pedro’s explanation for his very public spoiler breach will have your palms sweating.
Putting his phone into airplane mode, he opened Instagram to get just the right filter for the private photo – safe in the assumption that, with flight mode on, it would not upload.
But when he turned flight mode off, the photo – still saved in his Instagram profile – automatically posted to his account (and its 1 million followers).
“It’s these damn new iphones, they upload photos automatically – I didn’t know!” he says, clearly still mortified by the very public error.
Pascal’s punishment, after he’d hastily taken the photo down: He had to be the one to explain the leak to director Patty Jenkins.
Not that Jenkins could stay mad for too long, though. She speaks glowingly of her actors – especially returning leads Gal Gadot and Chris Pine, who’ve grown from her colleagues to her friends in the time between films.
“I love those guys so much. You do projects together and you’re like, ‘Oh, I hope we stay friends,’ but I love them. We’ve all become so close. They’re who I hang out with in my off time and my on time,” she says of the pair.
WONDER WOMAN 1984 will be released in Australian cinemas October 1, 2020. The journalist travelled to London as a guest of Roadshow Films.