Kristen Wiig has been working in Hollywood for decades, but in a sit-down with The Sydney Morning Herald, the 47-year-old reveals that working on Wonder Woman 1984 was utterly unique.

Wiig plays the villain Cheetah in the sequel in which Gal Gadot reprises her role. She explains: “The physical part of it was a really important thing for me as an actress, to even just be comfortable in doing this part, because I've never done a role like this, I’ve never been in a movie like this. Cheetah is a strong, powerful person, and I wanted to feel that way.”

She continues: “They wanted us to train for many months. We had an amazing stunt team and of course I wanted to be like, 'No, I want to do it, I want to do it.' But there were definitely stunts that I couldn't do, or it was too risky for me to get hurt. When I am in full Cheetah and Gal Gadot is in full Wonder Woman and it's the fight, it's exhilarating,” Wiig added of the duo's action scenes. “Then of course they yell, 'Cut!' and start laughing and we're like, 'Are you okay?' 'Did I hurt you?' “

Wiig credits Patty Jenkins with the direction she took the role in: “I have to give most of the credit to director Patty Jenkins because in talking about the character she’s very conscious of … what the tone is, and what the message is, and what it says about being a woman, and being a bad villain and being a woman. Also, going from this sort of frumpy, invisible, ignored character to this woman who is sexier and who is more confident and what that says.”

She also credits the first generation of female action stars: Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor in the Terminator film series, and Sigourney Weaver, who played Ellen Ripley in the Alien franchise.

She says: “I am sure subconsciously I was watching all of those movies, taking all of that in. Seeing women in those kinds of roles, that was the time, and starting to see more women have those physical roles, such as Sigourney Weaver. That was a big one. I mean, Alien.”

1984 lands in theaters and HBO Max on Christmas Day.