She may not have her name in that silly title but one of the most important characters in the upcoming Batman v Superman is of course Wonder Woman. After years of frustrating false starts in which not even Joss Whedon could get studios to sign off on a movie about the world’s most popular female superhero (think about that), the Amazonian Princess turned demigod Justice League stalwart will finally be making her feature film debut.
And the person on whose shoulders that monumental task has fallen is Israeli-born model/actress Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious franchise). Speaking to an Israeli publication (translated to English by a member of ComingSoon.net‘s SuperheroHype forums) Gadot explained what the role means to her, how her preparation for playing Wonder Woman went, how the sudden interest in her bust size (thanks for that embarrassment, fellow geeks) didn’t really interest her at all, and even how she was literally high when she got the news about her casting
“I never had to wait so long for a reply. It was a month and a half of torture. It was a crazy roller-coaster. I couldn’t talk about it to anyone. On the day they promised a reply I was flying to New York for another gig. When the plane landed I saw I had a lot of missed calls. I called my agent still sitting in the plane with the belt on. She told me ‘ Congratulations! You got the part.’ During the flight I had sat next to a really nice man. A scientist from The Weizmann Institute of Science. He talked the entire flight about quantum physics. Now, imagine me, sitting on the plane, looking for a little piece of privacy, burying my head between my legs and starting to scream ‘Oh my god!’ again and again, because I just can’t believe it. Then I hang up the phone and he looks at me like ‘what just happened?’ and asks if everything is alright. I tell him ‘ I can’t really say anything but you will probably read about it tomorrow in the paper.’”
And read about it, we definitely did, as the news of Gadot’s casting spread like wildfire across the internet. Unfortunately, in many of the geeky corners of the internet (and I’ll be honest and admit that we’re included here), many people questioned whether Gadot, with her slender model’s physique was a good match for a character that was traditionally represented as a powerhouse of a warrior. To be fair, it was a valid concern. And then some so-called “fans” had to go and sully the situation by not complaining that she didn’t show enough Amazonian muscle tone, but rather – as Gadot herself put it – that “they said that I was too skinny and my boobs were too small”. But the actress didn’t let this faze her in the slightest, especially since she had been through a similar experience in her earlier modelling career.
“I’m really lucky nothing in my life was instantaneous. When I was younger I would take criticism really hard. But now it mostly amused me. The true amazons had one boob so it won’t bother them in their archery. So it’s not going to be like real amazons. We always try to make everyone happy but we can’t.”
“After they asked me here, in Israel, if I have eating disorders and why am I so skinny, they said my head was too big and my body was like a broomstick… I can take anything. It’s just empty talk. I understand that part of what I’m doing means being exposed. And part of being exposed is being under fire (criticism).”
To her credit, Gadot did hit the gym hard. And while she didn’t exactly turn into The Rock in a leather skirt, she certainly packed on enough muscle to look much more formidable. And the training to get there wasn’t easy, but luckily she took to the physicality quite naturally.
“It was very intensive. When I was young I was a real tomboy so I really enjoyed the experience. I see [my daughter] Alma wanting to dress like a princess and put on lipstick and it surprises me. I asked my mom if I was like that too but she said all I wanted back then was to play ball, sweat, and scrape my knees.”
Getting the opportunity to play a character like Wonder Woman means much to Gadot than just another opportunity to play rough though. For her, it’s the realization of a massive career goal.
“I will never take for granted the job I have right now. [she actually said ‘I will never spit into the well from which I drink from’. It’s a phrase in Hebrew that means she won’t make fun of or look poorly on what she is doing right now. I forgot the equivalent in English]. Playing Wonder Women is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t describe to you how much I wanted to play this character without even knowing I wanted to play her. I met a lot of people from the industry in LA for meetings. They always asked me ‘what’s your dream role?’, and I never could define it. I always answered that I wanted to play a woman that is strong and will be a source for women empowerment. I don’t want to play a damsel in distress that needs to be saved. I don’t like it when women in the movies are shown as the victims. I always thought that if I could send out a message, I want to show the strong side of a woman and how she can handle tough situations.”
“[Now] I get to play the strongest most empowering woman ever – Wonder Woman. I’m so grateful and I thank God every day. I want to devour it and enjoy every bite. “
There will be more than just a few “bites” in Gadot’s future though: After debuting Wonder Woman on-screen in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on March 25, 2016, she will then show up again in her own solo movie, being directed by the uber-talented Michelle Maclaren, which is scheduled for release on June 23, 2017. This will then be followed up by Warner Bros’ own superhero team-up effort, The Justice League, on November 10, 2017, which should see the Trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman team up with the likes of Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg.
Rumor has it though that while BvS and Justice League will be set in modern time, the Wonder Woman solo movie would be set in the 1920’s, on the cusp of women’s right to vote finally being granted in the United States. This gender-sensitive era would definitely be an intriguing backdrop for the origin story of a female empowerment icon like Wonder Woman. What’s more, it’s expected that a second solo movie released after Justice League would still be set in the past, this time in World War II, once again offering an era in which female equality was a hot button topic.
If these rumours turn out to be true, it wouldn’t just give the Wonder Woman movies a unique period piece aesthetic and charm (much like the WWII-set Captain America: The First Avenger did), but also really give WB a chance to use their biggest female character to stand up for issues that lots of female fans worry about. If they handle it too clumsily, it could come across as forced and too on-the-nose, but handled well – which Maclaren is definitely capable of – it could make for an intriguing set of superhero action adventure movies that actually has something more to say than just how hard people in spandex can punch stuff.
Last Updated: March 23, 2015