EXCLUSIVE: 'Wonder Woman' Star Elena Anaya on Female Superheroes in Hollywood

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Elena Anaya is hanging up her fangs and channeling her inner villain for this year's badass, girl power film Wonder Woman.

The Spanish-born actress, who made her Hollywood debut as Dracula’s bride in the 2004 film Van Helsing, stars as Doctor Poison, one of three villains in the highly anticipated movie. Her character is a mad chemist who uses toxins and drugs, such as "Reverso," to cause chaos in the world.

We recently caught up with the 41-year-old Spaniard to talk about her preparation for the role, why Hollywood needs lead female characters, and more.

Read it all in the exclusive interview below:

MORE: Introducing Elena Anaya from Pedro Almodóvar's "The Skin I Live In"

Tell us about your character Doctor Poison.

Doctor Poison is a very strong, dangerous character, who enjoys seeing other people suffering. She is quite the opposite to the lead role of this movie, one of the strongest characters ever of DC comics, Wonder Woman. I can tell you that Doctor Poison is someone with a capacity to provoke so much pain.

How did you prepare to play the role of a villain?

I did the research. I looked for the origins of Doctor Poison. I saw the funny face of this character and all the comics from the golden era of DC comics. Unfortunately, I think there are so many villains in real life and sometimes some of them they don’t wear a mask, however, they are always caring about how they look and how correct they think they are, even though they are provoking so much pain.

In Hollywood, we're used to seeing a lot of males playing heroes and villains. What are your thoughts on Wonder Woman finally giving Hollywood a taste of women leading in superhero movies?

I think we are in front of a historical moment. This character was born in 1941 — almost 75 years has passed. To make producers trust in a movie led by a woman I think is amazing. In the year when the character was invented it was big, but it was a silent revolution. Now, somehow this character has [shown] and given us a lot of lessons about how we as humans are so lost. We are under the worst crisis of individualism, where we think we are more connected than ever but really, we are more alone than ever. Somehow one woman uses the generosity, like how she is able to act without waiting for anything back. She’s an altruist character and someone who feels compassion. Something that is almost lost in our real world.

Wonder Woman is all about female empowerment. What are your thoughts on gender equality?

I think women and all the revolution that started basically a hundred years ago, has done a lot for woman [but] we haven't gone that far. I think we need to improve a lot and develop our rights. This movie is a good example of making us think about it. It’s quite important to realize that we all need to make this a better place.

What was your experience working alongside Gal Gadot and Chris Pine?

Both of them are super good pals, good partners. Gal is a beautiful, amazing, and generous soul. She’s a beautiful person and gorgeous woman — very tall and quite confident. She’s very, very, very tall. Playing against her was like, ‘Oh my god! She’s really going to kill me.’ I had to make myself believe that I really had all the powers because my mind is so cruel and I play a sadistic character. Sadistic people can be very, very dangerous and cruel. The experience was fun. Chris Pine is such a great actor. Playing with him and looking at his face, and trying to penetrate his eyes and trying to scare him a little bit was fun. He's quite bigger than me. [Laughs]

Wonder Woman Screenshot

Catch Elena Anaya as Doctor Poison in Wonder Woman in theaters today!