‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot on Her Love for the Superhero: ‘She’s the Perfect Woman’

Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice
Courtesy of Warner Bros.

A former Miss Israel who spent two years in the army before breaking into modeling, Gal Gadot was studying law when a casting director spotted her, leading to roles in such films as “Fast & Furious” and the upcoming “Criminal.” She’s now lighting up screens as Wonder Woman in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and filming the “Wonder Woman” movie with director Patty Jenkins.

Growing up in Israel, were you familiar with the Wonder Woman character?

I wasn’t a big fan of comics, but I knew of her. I was too young when the Lynda Carter show was on, but I always knew who [Wonder Woman] was; she’s like a household name. It’s like knowing who Superman is.

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So when you landed the role, where did you begin your research? Did you read the comics and watch the show? 

I did it all, but to be honest with you, [“Batman v Superman” director] Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. had a very solid idea on how they wanted her to be. All I needed to do was embody everything they had planned for this character. And it’s amazing. Honestly, it’s my dream role. I love her so much.

What is it you like most about her?

Everything she stands for is something I can relate to. She’s very compassionate; she’s all about love and peace. She’s so strong and independent but sophisticated and with such emotional intelligence. She’s the perfect woman.

What was the process like in landing the role? 

It was super intensive, nerve-racking — a long roller coaster. Everything began when I was in Los Angeles, and WB wanted me to audition for something, but they wouldn’t say what it was. I did an audition with Zack Snyder, so I had an idea it might be the Superman movie. I went home and got a call from my agent saying they wanted to test me with Ben [Affleck]. It was finally Zack who called me and said, “Have you ever heard of Wonder Woman?” I went dead for about five seconds. When I came back to life, I tried to play it cool. When I went to do the camera test with Ben, everything went really well. I hoped it would be a quick answer, and for two weeks I felt very positive about it. Then by the third week I started to go through the seven stages of grief: angry, depressed, it’s not going to be mine. I really wanted it! Life of an actor. Six weeks later, I was trying to forget about it and move on. I was traveling for work, and when I landed, I opened my phone, and there were 30 missed calls from my agent. While I was on the plane, they said, “You can’t say anything to anyone, but you got the part!” I started to scream on the airplane. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Are you prepared for how your life is going to change or are you in denial?

(Laughs) I’m in denial.

Did you ask your co-stars for any advice?

No. I only asked Ben about traveling. Do you travel commercial or private? How does it work?

How did you go from the army to acting? Had you always wanted to be an actor? 

No, not at all. Growing up, I was a dancer. I wanted to be a choreographer. When I finished my service in the army, I decided to go to law school. I started doing that, and a casting director from London was looking for the new Bond girl and saw my card in an agency I was doing some modeling for. She wanted to see me, but I didn’t want to go. I told my agent, “I’m not an actor. This is all in English, and I’m in school.” He said, “Just go, please, out of respect.” The casting director really helped me out, and I went through many callbacks. Throughout the experience, I found acting so interesting. I didn’t land the part, but I told my agents if anything else came up that might fit me to let me know. Two months later, I landed my first role on a TV series in Israel. And three months after that, the same casting director called me and was looking for a new “Fast and Furious” girl. And everything began from there.

What is the accent you use in “Batman v Superman?” 

I kept my own. Wonder Woman came from an island called Themyscira where they speak hundreds of languages. She’s not American, and I was able to keep my own accent, which is kind of vague.

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You’ve worked with great ensembles in films like “Triple 9” and “Fast and Furious.” What is it like to be No. 1 on the call sheet while shooting “Wonder Woman”?

In the “Wonder Woman” movie, I’m surrounded by great actors — Chris Pine, Danny Huston, Robin Wright, David Thewlis — so I might be No. 1, but I don’t see it as that. I just enjoy working with these people, and feel so honored and grateful to have this role. And with Patty Jenkins, whom I love, directing the movie. She’s a genius.

Do you think it was important to have a female director for the movie?

I think it was a smart move. I think women understand women the best. And Patty has such a great vision; she knew exactly how she wanted to tell our story. She’s all about the heart, and I think that Wonder Woman is all about the heart as well.

How do you approach a role when it’s based on a comic, but you want to treat it seriously?

That’s the thing about Wonder Woman. People might think you should play the superhero, but how do you play a superhero? At the end of the day, we’re all people. What’s so lovely about Wonder Woman is yes, she has the strength and power of a goddess, but she has the heart and mind of a human. So I play her as I think a woman like me would act in the situations she’s going through. You treat her as a normal woman who happens to be fantastic and almighty.

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  1. Susan says:

    I like the way Gal Gadot acts. She is impressive, with a unique look. I’m sure Wonder Woman with Gal Gadot is going to be a great one.

  2. Batman V superman is 2 hrs. 31 min. Wonder Woman get about 12 min of screen time and little written dialog wish is probable a good thing because Gal gadot can’t act to save her life. They knew how bad she was and made sure limit her screen time. Even the final fight scene which had some much CGI and green screen that you never really got to see much of her do much.

    • Leeloo says:

      Totally!! Then why the hell are they making a Wonder Woman movie with her as the lead if they already know how bad she is? I am imagining the movie is going to have no dialogue, as she can’t act, and it’s just going to be a big visual CGI blur. They’ve totally destroyed Wonder Woman by casting this Gal who looks more like Olive Oyl from a Popeye movie. I shouldn’t even say that as it is an insult to Olive Oyl as Olive Oyl is more likeable and charming. Wonder Woman movie = epic fail!!!

  3. A says:

    I feel like her casting was completely wrong and offensive when we have so many strong female actors for the role, like Gina Carano. I don’t want to see a group of playboy bunnies pretending to be amazons. I want real amazons.

  4. theyads says:

    I loved Lynda as wonderwoman… but her physique wasn’t what I’d expect of a woman warrior–but for her era it was a good strong woman role. I was hoping 40 years later (and still am) that Gal would do some training before the WW movie. That Hollywood would step up in today’s era and stop the double standard. No chance that Superman, Batman, Thor, Captain America… (warriors all) wouldn’t have a strong physique. Can you be a super hero (flash, etc) without a warrior’s physique–sure but they have other skill sets and back story appropriate for less body strength/muscles. I can get over the lack of blue eyes (this is canon but not integral to who she is)… But you tell me that a warrior that has been training for 100s of years would have a physique of a desk jockey that couldn’t beat me (50yrs old) at arm wrestling? Come on. I don’t expect to see a body builder physique but some arm and leg definition would be nice. And, I appreciate that at least Gal’s carriage and body language reads strong. But, there’s not a male super hero warrior that isn’t expected to look the part. Linda Hamilton did it, Sigourney Weaver did it… but recently we mainly have a bunch of powder puff looking females in lead/action rolls (Katniss, Triss,…). I guess in Hollywood it is usually more important that women are pretty and thin rather than strong and athletic. Great message for girls.

  5. lover says:

    SHE IS BETTER THAN LYNDA. LYNDA WAS JUST A PRETTY FACE. GAL IS A QUEEN. BYE HATERS.

    • Leeloo says:

      Hahahaha someone obviously can’t see properly and needs glasses. Gal can be your queen any day. Who cares.

  6. Kurt says:

    She’s just a pretty face. She can’t act and her line readings were wooden.

  7. Leeloo says:

    She is NO Wonder Woman no matter how willing or able she is. If people could please check the Comics, Wonder Woman is strong, beautiful, feminine and has fair complexion, blue/black hair and BLUE eyes. Wonder Woman has been destroyed and so is the DC Universe. Lynda Carter looked like Wonder Woman stepped straight out of the comic book. She was perfect. Gal Gadot looks like Olive Oyl put on a WW costume for halloween. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman = Epic Fail!!

    • Loretta says:

      You think that Wonder Woman is actually embodied by Lynda Carter? You’re forgetting that Carter herself didn’t have the Amazonian body and was only a little bit more muscular than Gadot.

      • Leeloo says:

        zengreenyoda, I’m suspecting you’re a Drumpf follower? You probably think everyone is racist just because they don’t agree with you? Wonder Woman is strong, feminine, beautiful with fair complexion, blue/black hair and BLUE eyes. Check the comic books! It seems like you have never read one. Gal has none of these to bring to Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot is like Olive Oyl who lost her Popeye. I think you need glasses. She may be beautiful to you but she does not bring anything to her Wonder Woman character. That’s why everyone is hung up on Lynda Carter because she looked the part and she was the best Wonder Woman and all her minor flaws were forgiven. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman = Epic Fail!!!

      • zengreenyoda says:

        Why are you here intimating your racist affectation ? Gal Gadot is very beautiful and graceful. She looks the part, and the facts state the box office agrees. I don’t care what skin tone or whatever she has… Beautiful is fact. Gal Gadot is a beautiful woman. We need to stop criticizing those who do, and strive to be inspired by their success.

      • Leeloo says:

        Did you even read my comment? Lynda looked like Wonder Woman. She had all of Wonder Woman’s signature features. Gal doesn’t. Gal looks like Olive Oyl stepped out of a Popeye movie. Worst casting for Wonder Woman.

  8. Paul Brnp says:

    She was in the right place at the right time and very lucky. It’s like she won the acting lottery! And, she never studied acting. You figure…….

  9. Bun Ho says:

    She is NO Linda Carter!

    • Loretta says:

      That’s a bad thing? Who cares? People may have legitimate criticisms of Gadot, but many are also centred around “Oh, she’s not Lynda Carter!” Please, move on! Besides, Carter wasn’t exactly a body builder and looked like a waif.

      • Leeloo says:

        Again, Carter looked like Wonder Woman and had all her signature features. Gal is the worst casting! You just need to look at her and then Wonder Woman from any of her Comics to notice. Gal is like a lost Olive Oyl looking for her Popeye.

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