David E. Kelley is used to being surrounded by wondrous women.
For the much-honored writer-producer, they range from Michelle Pfeiffer — his actress wife — to such television characters as Ally McBeal and Ellenor Frutt (“The Practice”). He’s getting ready to introduce another: “Misery” Oscar winner Kathy Bates plays a starting-over attorney in Kelley’s NBC drama “Harry’s Law,” premiering Monday, Jan. 17.
Another woman is very much on Kelley’s mind these days: Wonder Woman, literally. He’s developing a contemporary take on the DC Comics character for Warner Bros. Television (also “Harry’s” home studio), and while huge interest greeted that announcement in October, he wants the update to take whatever time it needs.
“There’s no real deal in place yet, but yeah, my intent is to take a stab at it,” Kelley tells Zap2it. “I’ve been working on it between scripts for ‘Harry’s Law.’ It’s a very, very different genre for me, a very tricky beast. I won’t know whether I’ve cracked it or not until I’ve finished it, but it’s going.”
Every agent representing a remotely Amazonian actress might be expected to submit a bid, but Kelley says he has “not really” experienced that … at least not yet. “At the beginning, there was a little bit of that, but we quickly made it known that was premature. I haven’t necessarily committed to doing it yet. I’m at the point where I’m trying to figure out if I can make the franchise work for me.
“If I can’t, I don’t want to delude Warner Bros. or anybody else that I should be doing it. The way I’ve always worked has been to write a script and discover, in the process of the writing, if it’s a fertile and creative place where I want to live. If I feel I can make the characters my own and it’s a world rich enough for me to revisit, that’s a good sign to me that it’s a series worth doing.”
Being so immersed in “Harry’s Law” now, Kelley acknowledges that “the only way I’m truly going to discover if [‘Wonder Woman’] is right for me, and I’m right for it, is to roll my sleeves up and close the door and do some work. And that’s a challenge, because it’s kind of a busy time.”