July 28, 2005

Wonder Woman Carter’s new role: superhero coach

By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter
returns to her superhero roots this week in the movie "Sky
High" but she's got a new job: the stiletto-heeled, tough
principal of a high school for kids with extraordinary powers.

The producers of the family-friendly Walt Disney Co.
comedy, which opens on Friday, were ecstatic to get Carter, 54,
best-remembered for her spin on 1970s television as Wonder

The actress, who has worked in over 50 projects since the
series, admits to being tired of playing heroines and has often
turned down roles that recalled her Wonder Woman past.

"At this time in my life, I'm not so interested in playing
the same TV movie again about toxic waste or anorexic children.
I'm much more interested in going outside of the box," said
Carter, who liked "Sky High" because it meshed superhero
elements with those of a typical teen comedy.

In the film, Carter dishes out lessons to aspiring
crime-fighters as the dressed-to-kill principal who can also
turn herself into a comet.

Her roster of charges in the movie also includes female
students -- a plus for the star of Wonder Woman, who became an
icon of sorts for feminists and featured on the first issue of
Ms. magazine in 1971.

"I was also happy to see girls represented in this
superhero thing all the way through," Carter said.

Carter has ideas about who should succeed her as the crime
fighting Amazon and feminist icon in an upcoming movie about
"Wonder Woman," which first originated as a 1940s-era DC Comics

She says producers should cast an unknown in her 20s for
the movie version, set to be shot next year.

"I want her to be wonderful and fabulous," said Carter, a
former beauty queen and Maybelline model, who quickly adds that
the role demands more than sex appeal.

"It's not about guys falling all over themselves, because
she would just whack them on the head and say 'Get a grip!"'

Carter said the next Wonder Woman should remember that
superheroes can be played as characters with human emotions too
-- avoiding the cliched touches that have dogged some
big-screen comic-book adaptations.

"Why does 'Spider-Man' work and some of the others don't?
It's connection and being able to identify with the character,"
she said.

While the image of Carter twirling into figure-hugging
spandex is stamped in millions of minds from the TV series, the
star never thought of Wonder Woman as a sex symbol. "I wanted
women to love her more than men," she said.

Even so, Carter admits she had fun engineering a sexier
look for "Sky High" headmistress, Principal Powers.

"I first walked into the costume designer and saw she had
short shoes, tweed jacket, little bun and glasses," said
Carter, who urged a faster-than-the-eye make-over on director
Mike Mitchell.

"I told him ... she can't be a shrinking violet. You cast
me!! Its not just somebody else. It's me! Let's just bomb her
out," said Carter.