Gal Gadot’s belief in “truth, compassion and love”
From her homeland to Hollywood, Israeli export Gal Gadot has been thrust into the spotlight with the coveted role of Wonder Woman.
As a former soldier and model, Gal Gadot’s backstory already reads a little like that of a comic book character. So perhaps it is fitting that this one-time Miss Israel has been given her break on the big screen as one of the DC Universe’s most iconic creations: Wonder Woman.
With the first screen appearance for the heroine since the ’70s as part of Zack Snyder’s less-than-fantastically-received Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Gadot’s Amazonian protagonist has now been given her own solo outing in an eponymous film alongside Chris Pine, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen.
“We did it, it’s here, it’s ready,” beams the 32-year-old. “I love it – I’m very proud. That’s an understatement; I can’t convey how proud I am. And now I hope everyone else will love it as much as I do!”
Now released in cinemas, the signs and reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. After a seemingly unending stream of male-centric comic book characters, Wonder Woman has been a breath of fresh air, redefining the what a superhero can embody. Lynda Carter defined the character in the much-loved ’70s TV show, but Gadot has steadily won over some harsh critics after her brief but scene-stealing cameo in Batman v Superman and now the positive reviews for her stand-alone origin film.
Gadot is quick to heap praise on the film’s director, Patty Jenkins. “I felt very safe in her arms,” she says. “Her vision was solid from the beginning. She wasn’t jumping around; she wasn’t shielding me from the process. She was inclusive and created this environment of harmony and taking on a job of this size.I needed that security. I needed someone to guide me and Patty is exactly who I needed. She was our strong female leader. Wonder Woman is a strong leader; she and Patty are the perfect combination.”
Jenkins, Gadot asserts, “believes in the magic of Wonder Woman” because she possesses the “belief in truth, compassion and love” that mark out Diana Prince and her alter ego as one of the most famous of all comic book creations. For her own part, Gadot believes her own links to Wonder Woman’s defining ideals come from her familial heritage.
“My grandfather was a great influence on me and he remained in my mind for much of this shoot because of the dominating theme of compassion throughout,” she explains. “He was a Holocaust survivor and he always taught me from when I was a little girl: no matter what happens to you in life, always find your light.
“He lost his entire family in the Holocaust but always focused on love and generosity and affection. We need all those things more than ever today. I want to teach the same lessons he taught me to my children – pass it down.”
As Gadot looks ahead to multiple further films in the iconic but updated red, blue and gold outfit – ensemble action bonanza Justice League is due soon – she holds the esteemed position of having made her cinematic career on very much equal terms to her male co-stars. From her Hollywood debut in Furious 7 to mixing it upwith Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, this weapons-trained and (until recently) motorcycle-riding maiden is on a one-woman mission to do away with the traditional role ascribed to female actresses. But despite her newfound status as the DC Universe’s arguably greatest female icon, Gadot is keen for her influence to be as inclusive as possible.
“It’s not just for the girls, it’s for the boys too,” she declares. “I don’t want it to exclude men from the audience – boys, young boys need a powerful female leader to aspire to, to help them grow and develop. As wonderful as it is to work on the first female superhero film, as great as that is for young girls to witness and absorb, it’s just as important for the boys.
“Wonder Woman speaks to all genders, and I don’t know if the same can be said for some other superheroes, which makes me proud. She’s got the combination of femininity and super strength. What is better than that? Strong, amazing women: they’re the best of the best.”