Sheridan on 'mythic' and 'formidable' Wolfe
Luke G. Williams
Photo Courtesy Warner Bros.
In our latest issue, female fight icon Ann Wolfe is interviewed by Luke G. Williams. As an added extra, acclaimed combat sports writer Sam Sheridan spoke to Boxing Monthly about how Wolfe came to be cast in his wife Patty Jenkins' acclaimed blockbuster Wonder Woman...
BM: You've got a big interest and expertise in combat sports - as well as formidable pedigree writing about such sports. When did you first come across the legend that is Ann Wolfe and what is your assessment of her status as a female pugilistic icon?
SS: I was writing about Andre Ward’s post-Olympic career for my first book and he was on the undercard with Ann in Memphis, with Antonio Tarver fighting Glen Johnson in 2005 for the second time. Ann was fighting and she was a phenomenon. I had never seen a female boxer so formidable. I asked Virgil Hunter, Andre’s trainer about her, and he shook his head, “Ann Wolfe had a hard life,” he said, and told me a little bit about her. I found her to be iconic, a kind of pure archetype boxing… all female boxing was, at that time, slightly tragic, in my opinion - because the big money fights just didn’t exist. I never spoke to her but I watched her interviews. She took on a mythic cast in my mind, and I often thought about her afterwards. Where she came from, what she survived.
SS: Ann told me that you played a role in her casting in Wonder Woman - by suggesting her for the role of Artemis to your wife Patty Jenkins. Can you please give me your memories about how she came to be considered for the role by Patty.
SS: My wife was talking to me about casting, about the Amazons, about “amazing women” in sports… I eventually thought of Ann because I had actually used her image and likeness to pitch a character for something else. But then I realised that what the Amazons desperately needed was a woman who knew what fighting was. Who knew what it felt like to kill or die. All these great women, the actors, athletes and dancers; they needed attitudes to be demonstrated, they need to see it—and Ann could show them ferocity in her eyes and her body and her spirit that they wouldn’t have seen elsewhere. Ann’s been in there, in and out of the ring—she knows what it means to fight or die. She’s tough in her essence. If the shit went down, Ann would absolutely kill you with a sword if it came to it. And she can show it in her eyes.
BM: Have you had the opportunity to meet Ann? If so how did you find her? Is she as formidable, warm (and funny!) as I found her on the telephone?
SS: Ann is wonderful. Because of who she is and her life, she’s quiet at first—but she loves kids and she took my seven year old son around with her on set. He loved telling all his friends he was training with the best female boxer of all time… And once she trusts you, she’s fascinating as a person and as a boxing mind. She’s absolutely lovely.
Ann Wolfe is interviewed in the November issue of Boxing Monthly magazine.
Sam Sheridan is the author of A Fighter's Heart: One Man's Journey through the World of Fighting & The Fighter's Mind: Inside the Mental Game