Marston administering a lie detector test in 1931. (Photo: Bettmann / Getty Images)

Wonder Woman herself has a thrilling origin tale, but her creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston, had a pretty interesting backstory as well. Marston—who received a PhD from Harvard in 1921—began his career as a psychologist/carnival barker, inventing (and doing frequent. splashy public demonstrations of) a blood-pressure based lie detector test after observing that his wife Elizabeth’s blood pressure would rise when she was angry. Marston seemed to live his life in thrall to women: A bondage enthusiast—it’s no coincidence that Wonder Woman ties someone up or gets tied up in nearly all of her early adventures—he secretly maintained a long-term relationship with two women, Elizabeth Holloway Marston and Olive Byrne (niece of birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger), in what nowadays we’d call a polyamorous triad.

Elizabeth and Olive both inspired Marston’s most famous creation, Wonder Woman, designed to be a modern, liberated woman “with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman,” as he put it in an essay in American Scholar (via The Atlantic) in 1944. That, plus the whole bondage thing, made Wonder Woman a controversial figure when she was first released, and Marston was forced to defend his creation against charges of “sexual perversity.”

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That’s the basis of a new biopic, Professor Marston And The Wonder Women, currently being developed by writer/director Angela Robinson, who has also served as a producer on How To Get Away With Murder and True Blood. Transparent director Jill Soloway is attached as an executive producer, and her company Topple Productions is producing the movie along with Boxspring Entertainment. Luke Evans is attached to star as Marston, along with Bella Heathcote and Rebecca Hall as Olive Byrne and Elizabeth Marston, respectively.

As for our three protagonists, William Moulton Marston died in 1947, after which time Wonder Woman became increasingly less interested in rope and more interested in pining over Steve Trevor. Elizabeth and Olive, meanwhile, continued living happily together for the next 43 years.

[via Variety]

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