‘Tank Girl’ Director Rachel Talalay Just Threw Major Shade At Marvel

One of the ways movie buffs have kept busy during self-isolation is to live-tweet along with movies. Sometimes filmmakers and film critics have participated. Leigh Whannell did one for The Invisible Man and producer Jason Blum and director Craig Zobel did one for The Hunt. On March 30, Tank Girl director Rachel Talalay did a live tweet along with her cult classic, including a jab at the Marvel comic book movies that followed.

Lori Petty and Naomi Watts
Lori Petty and Naomi Watts | United Artists/Getty Images

The filmopened on March 31, 1995. Based on the British comic, the title was largely unknown in America and this was still a time when the only comic book movies were Batman or Superman. Lori Petty played the title character, a heroine of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, with Naomi Watts as her sidekick Jet Girl, and Ice-T as a kangaroo king T-Saint. Talalay and Petty tweeted along with viewers watching at home under the hashtag #TankGirlLives. 

Did Marvel get this idea from ‘Tank Girl’?

The opening titles play over panels from Tank Girl comics. Talalay reminded fans she put comic book panels in a movie before Marvel did the same with their opening logo. 

She’s probably being sarcastic, right? Given all she later revealed she went through making her movie, it seems like Marvel movies 20 years later are the least of her problems.

Marvel Studios
The Marvel Studios movie logo also begins with comic book panels. (Kevin Feige pictured) | The Walt Disney Company/Image Group LA via Getty Images

Tank Girl’s biggest battle was with the studio

Tank Girl was Talalay’s third movie as a director after Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare and Ghost in the Machine. Prior to that she was a producer at New Line. Still, United Artists fought her and compromised the movie. Talalay shared some of those battles.

Tank Girl Lori Petty
Lori Petty | United Artists/Getty Images

First, she had to fight for Devo’s recording of “Girl U Want” in the so-called Marvel-esque opening titles. 

The studios wanted to pretty Tank Girl up.

The studio also insisted on a voiceover to explain the world of the comic to the audience. Remember how well that went over for Blade Runner? At least Talalay fought to make the voiceover as irreverent as Tank Girl herself is. 

Lori Petty and Malcolm McDowell
Malcolm McDowell and Lori Petty | United Artists/Getty Images

Talalay also didn’t believe the film needed a flashback to explain the backstory, but it’s in the movie at the studio’s insistance. Likewise, an “unnecessary backstory” for the kangaroo Ripper. 

Talalay fought to make ‘Tank Girl’ weirder

Talalay said comic book creators Alan Martin and Jamie Hewlett suggested Tank Girl ride a water buffalo instead of a horse. Even after she got the water buffalo, there was still a battle. 

She also regrets killing the animal.

The comedy was a tough sell

Talalay’s intentions were to make a comic book parody, as the original Tank Girl comic was outrageous. Talalay laments that the studio made her add line that the villains “can’t shoot for sh*t”, to explain why they couldn’t hit Tank Girl. Likewise, any time Petty improvised.

Talalay added that Petty improvised her fan favorite “p-p-p pow” line. Petty takes credit for, “Have we left ourselves in our purse?”

Budget cuts shortchanged costars too

Budget overruns cost Sub Girl (Ann Cusack) the bulk of her role. 

Talalay also said there were supposed to be additional scenes of Tank Girl and Booga the kangaroo in bed. Booga would’ve been “somewhat naked.”

Tank Girl (Lori Petty) and Booga (Jeff Kober) | United Artists/Getty Images

Petty confirmed that props for their love scene exist.

Talalay alluded to problems with the montage of Tank Girl building her tank, but still wasn’t ready to talk about them. 

Petty said, “This montage is all me being crazy… most scenes in the Tank are lol.”