Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

July 18, 2017

New long trailer for the polypic "Professor Marston and the Wonder Women" raises buzz

The real-life polyfamily behind the creation of Wonder Woman in 1941 is getting a biopic that will open in theaters October 27th, as I wrote about last month. Professor Marston and the Wonder Women comes from the independent Annapurna Pictures but will be distributed by Sony, so it might show up in your local cineplex. Where your relatives may see it. A conversation starter?

Just out today is the first trailer that reveals the movie's approach:

The central drama, it seems, will be the efforts by the polyamorous triad of William Moulton Marston, Elizabeth Holloway, and Olive Byrne to hide their home life while seeking to change the world through the Wonder Woman comics.

● The trailer is setting off a fresh round of media notice. For example, just up on the site of the New York Daily News: Wonder Woman creator’s polyamorous relationship the focus of new biopic trailer (July 18):

Meet the man — and women — behind Wonder Woman.

...The new film stars Luke Evans (“Beauty and the Beast”) as Marston, Rebecca Hall (“The Prestige”) as Elizabeth, and Bella Heathcote (“Fifty Shades Darker”) as their lover, Byrne.

The film explores the polyamorous and radically sexual relationship Marston, Elizabeth and Byrne shared until his death in 1947. As the tagline says, the movie is the story of the women behind the man behind the woman. Both women had children by the writer and continued to live together until Byrne’s death in 1985.

"Dr. William Moulton Marston died in 1947, but before his death he accomplished a lot: a radical sexual relationship, creating an iconic comic book character, inventing the systolic blood pressure test, and inspiring the polygraph. (Meurer, Bill / NY Daily News)"

“I want to study her,” Marston says in the film, as his wife warns: “She’ll break your heart.”

As Marston becomes more interested in Byrne, Elizabeth does too. She tells her husband: “Maybe I just want her because you do.”

Eventually, the film shows, the three decide to go for it. When Elizabeth asks, “You think it’s possible to love two people at the same time?” Byrne replies: “Why not?”

The upcoming film also dives into the creation of one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time, which Marston first wrote about under a pseudonym in 1941, Charles Moulton.

Connie Britton also stars as a psychologist who looks at early issues of “Wonder Woman” and questions the frequent themes of bondage and Marston’s desire to hide behind an alias.

“Professor Marston & the Wonder Women,” directed by Angela Robinson, is due out Oct. 27, just four months after Wonder Woman’s first major blockbuster film appearance.

● At ScreenCrush:

Comic Books Meet Polyamory in ‘Professor Marston and the Wonder Women’ Trailer

By Charles Bramesco

Behind every great man, there’s a great woman; behind Wonder Woman, there was a wondrous man. Dr. William Moulton Marston was a professor of psychology when he first ginned up the idea for DC’s most famed distaff defender, working under a pseudonym to protect his reputation. But the man had more secrets than the average reader might realize. He and his wife Elizabeth entered into a passionate polyamorous relationship with one of William’s students, Olive Byrne, though the time’s standards of propriety forced them to live in secret. And then there was all the bondage stuff.

His whole story — the rise to prominence, the controversy over indecency charges, the intense private life — gets the big-screen treatment in Angela Robinson’s upcoming Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, due October 27. Today brings us the first trailer, and there’s discord in the golden-hued past. Luke Evans steps in to portray the eccentric Dr. Marston, with Rebecca Hall as his devoted wife and The Neon Demon star Bella Heathcote as their joint lover. It’s a novel corner of history to poke around in, freely commingling old-fashioned morality with some saucier shots of leather corsets being laced up and riding crops slapping against skin. The presence of Connie Britton as Person Whose Job It Is To Baldly State The Creative Subtext Of The Movie does not sit so well, however.

In summation, it looks like an atypical approach to a subject becoming tiresomely typical. If we’re going to have to sit through another troubled-genius biopic exposing the troubled personal life of a revered figure, normalizing polyamory along the way is really the least it could do.

● Screenwriter/director Angela Robinson tells Entertainment Weekly that her movie's release so soon after Wonder Woman (which has grossed $766 million worldwide to date) was a super-lucky fluke:

“It’s weirdly an accident of history that they’re coming in the same year,” Robinson tells EW. “I’ve been trying to get the film together, like all indies movies, for a while. It came together a couple times and fell apart a couple times. Then, it just started gathering steam, but the actual stars aligning in the way for this type of timing just kind of happened.”

A lifelong Wonder Woman fan, Robinson started working on the movie’s script almost eight years ago. She became interested in Marston and Olive’s relationship after reading about it in a coffee table book given to Robinson as a gift by Jordana Brewster, who starred in Robinson’s D.E.B.S..

“It was just this fascinating story behind them,” she says. “They invented a lie detector and he kind of lived in a polyamorous relationship with his wife and one of his students, Olive Byrne, and they all had kids together and lived together for many, many years.”

...The trailer, which opens and closes with Josette Frank (Connie Britton), one of Marston’s detractors, questioning him about the contents of the comic, frames their story as one of them against a world that might not understand them. “The world won’t let us,” says Elizabeth in the trailer, to which Marston replies, “The world can’t stop us.” Because of the need for secrecy, there’s this sense that the Wonder Woman comic became their means of exploring what they had to keep hidden.

“For me, not to get heady about it, the dialectic in the movie was between fantasy and reality, and that they really found freedom in their lives in this notion of fantasy, be it role play [or] the comics,” says Robinson.

Salon: See the trailer for the film that traces Wonder Woman’s polyamorous roots (July 18).

...The trailer... seems to offer a glossy, Hollywood take on queerness, kink, polyamory and, yes, comic books set in the conservative world of the 1940s (Connie Britton makes an appearance as the apparently disproving children’s-book expert Josette Frank). Dramatic music and edit cuts abound.

Many more.


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