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Natasha Rothwell of ‘Insecure’ Fame Joins ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

The actress is making a huge leap from comedy glory into the big leagues of superhero cinematic universes.
Natasha Rothwell Insecure
By  · Published on July 25th, 2018

The actress is making a huge leap from comedy glory into the big leagues of superhero cinematic universes.

Let’s all rejoice in unconventional casting choices! As Patty JenkinsWonder Woman 1984 progresses through production, the film has found yet another impeccable addition for its onscreen lineup. This time, a relatively fresh face has been tapped to join established names Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Kristen Wiig, and Pedro Pascal in the sequel (that’s not quite a sequel) to last year’s summer smash hit, Wonder Woman.

According to Deadline, Natasha Rothwell, who is most famous for her contributions to HBO’s Insecure and a memorable feature role in Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon, will be playing an undisclosed role in Wonder Woman 1984.

After witnessing Diana Prince (Gadot) turn the tide of World War I during the first Wonder Woman, the “new chapter” will now follow up on the Amazonian superhero’s adventures in the mid-1980s. Although we can somehow expect Diana’s supposedly dead love interest Steve Trevor (Pine) to make an appearance in Wonder Woman 1984, this 70-year time jump definitely allows for some new characters to thrive.

Wiig is set to play Diana’s nemesis Cheetah. Meanwhile, the unknown nature of Pascal and Rothwell’s characters hardly dampens our excitement about their involvement in the film. Their dazzling onscreen presences ensure that these newcomers are already fascinating enough to be worth waiting for.

Remember Rothwell’s name, folks, because her caliber and allure coupled with the amazing opportunity of a superhero movie should skyrocket her to well-deserved stardom. She has put down wondrous roots in comedy, starting out at The Upright Citizens Brigade and The Peoples Improv Theater.

Rothwell auditioned to appear as a cast member on Saturday Night Live. The role eventually went to Sasheer Zamata. However, she still secured a season-long writer spot on SNL in the end, penning noteworthy moments such as Taraji P. Henson’s monologue.

Rothwell’s sketch show talents continued to flourish in the Netflix series The Characters, which allowed eight different comics to write and headline their own material in their respective episodes. Rothwell co-created and executive produced the show, and she even serves up some premium hilarity in her own starring episode too.

Her material operates in the vein of cringe comedy, but Rothwell’s writing is smart and balances out strangeness with wit. She also embodies each of her characters with such gusto and pride, making the experience of watching her thoroughly entertaining.

Then came Rothwell’s biggest break: Insecure. She started on the show as a writer before eventually being brought on in front of the camera in a recurring capacity. Onscreen, Rothwell plays Kelli, a particularly acerbic woman in Issa Dee’s (Issa Rae) friend circle who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. The character’s defiance and sheer confidence are in line with the audacity that Rothwell displays in her segment of The Characters.

But Kelli is enough of a complicated and layered woman to exist beyond merely being comic relief, especially by the second season of Insecure when Rothwell was upped to a series regular. Alongside her actorly duties, she continues to serve as executive story editor on the series.

Rothwell’s big screen credits have been few and far between, but she left the most salient impression in Love, Simon. Rothwell portrays a drama teacher desperate to put on a good performance of Cabaret in the film, and although she isn’t on screen a ton in the movie, she brings her brand of pointed, snappy humor to a supporting part that could have been rather thankless.

Rothwell’s character, Ms. Albright, defends the rights of her students even if the shenanigans of high school tire her out. Once again, it’s not just about being funny. Rothwell is simultaneously sincere, and thus totally indelible.

Rothwell now joins Wiig as one of two comedians in the Wonder Woman 1984 cast, which really makes me wonder just how much the film will play into its humorous side, if at all. The first Wonder Woman is definitely not devoid of fun, thanks to Gadot and Pine’s subtle comedic timing as well as Lucy Davis’ brief but glorious appearance as Etta Candy.

Yet the movie wasn’t an all-out riotous romp either; not that such a tone would have worked for the dramatic weight of the story anyway. Nevertheless, as far as Wonder Woman 1984 is concerned, the talent at its fingertips almost demands more laughs. And should Warner Bros. be at all interested, we’ve got a primer on funny villains that the studio can follow to make comedy work for their blockbuster.

Not much else has been revealed about Wonder Woman 1984, of course, given that we are over a year away from its release date (November 1, 2019). Descriptions of some exclusive footage that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con this year briefly promise more action and girl power awesomeness. No complaints about that, because this is the epic content everyone signed up for.

Furthermore, Jenkins promises a film that will put Diana to extreme tests, thrusting her into a time period when “mankind [was] at its best and worst.” This notion lines up with our desire for Diana to go up against an Orwellian state almost too perfectly, but that would make for something extraordinarily timely and challenging.

After the gargantuan success of Wonder Woman, the pressure has been on to ensure that its sequel lives up to the inexorable hype. Still, we seem to have very little to worry about. Every announcement regarding Wonder Woman 1984 has thus far only put our expectations to the test in delightful ways. Sure, we will keep having a ton of questions until opening day, but that’s certainly part of the fun. And with a cast that just keeps on giving, this particular Worlds of DC film only puts us at ease.

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Sheryl Oh often finds herself fascinated (and let's be real, a little obsessed) with actors and their onscreen accomplishments, developing Film School Rejects' Filmographies column as a passion project. She's not very good at Twitter but find her at @sherhorowitz anyway. (She/Her)