If you missed Keeping Up With The Joneses at the cinema then you missed out on a comedy boasting the talents of seasoned performers like Zach Galfianakis and Isla Fisher alongside relative newcomers and all-round eye candy Jon Hamm and Gal Gadot.
The latter pairing are more than just a pair of pretty faces though, with Hamm and Gadot cast as two halves of a mysterious new couple who move in next door to the rather ordinary coupling of Fisher and Galfianakis, and bring with them a pretty big secret – they are covert operatives.
Inspired by action comedies like True Lies, this latest film from Superbad director Greg Mottola is about to arrive on DVD.
So ahead of the release, Elaine Lipworth managed to catch up with Gadot to find out more about Wonder Woman’s most challenging role to date.
loaded: How exciting was it when you got this role?
Gadot: It was very exciting for me. When I got the script for this film. It was such an easy read, it was amusing and funny. When I found out Isla, Zack and John were in it and it was being directed by Greg, it was an easy decision to make.
loaded: What kind of woman is Natalie Jones (her character)?
Gadot: Well Natalie is a very tough, strong woman on the outside. She’s a talented spy and she can do everything that a spy can do. On the inside though, and with her husband Tim (Jon Hamm), she’s more vulnerable and sensitive. But the world sees her as the strong woman she is. She loves spying. She enjoys the adrenaline and she feels like she’s doing something that matters.
loaded: You are so strong and athletic and you’ve served in the Israeli army, which presumably helps with the action?
Gadot: “It does, I was working as a PE instructor in the army, but I did army boot camp, the whole thing. I have a lot of action in this movie, which I really enjoy and I am already used to it after appearing in the Fast And The Furious franchise and playing Wonder Woman. So it’s fun for me. I really like using my body as a tool in my acting and there is great action in Keeping Up With The Joneses. We have a car heist, when I’m standing in the car through the sunroof and the car goes spinning at 180 degrees. There’s also jumping out of windows, tons of cool action.
loaded: How interesting is it working with Jon Hamm? You are so charismatic together.
Gadot: He is a great partner; he is really fun to work with. He is hilarious, funny, smart and bright, and he is a lovely man.
loaded: Can you discuss your on-screen relationship with Tim?
Gadot: I think Natalie and Tim love each other a lot and they’ve been working together as operatives for more than a decade. Tim’s not sure if he wants to continue to be a spy, whereas all Natalie wants to do is to be a spy. She’s much more into it all — the covert operations and the international security world — than Tim is. Tim doesn’t enjoy the work so much, because we have to manipulate people and lie for the job. Tim likes interacting with people and doing his hobby, glass blowing, which is the opposite of being a spy. On the other hand, our whole relationship has been established on the basis that we have been partners as spies. The back-story is that we met because I was in the Mossad (Israeli Intelligence). Tim is afraid to share the way he feels with Natalie, because he doesn’t know how it’s going to affect their relationship. Natalie is very frustrated because he doesn’t share anything with her, so it’s a vicious circle of miscommunication.
loaded: Do you think you would make a good spy? Women supposedly make better spies than men.
Gadot: I’m too much of coward to be a spy. I’m not as tough in real life as I am in films (laughs). In my real life I would never stand in a moving car and shoot weapons like we do in the movie.
loaded: What was it like working with Zach Galifianakis and Isla Fisher?
Gadot: It was amazing; one of the most incredible things in this movie is the chemistry we all have with each other. They are all brilliant, smart, funny and easy to work with. We really work well together. I’ve never had such a great experience working with a woman before making this film as I have with Isla. We have developed a beautiful bond.
loaded: Can you discuss your experience of working with Greg Mottola?
Gadot: Greg is great, he’s the captain of this big ship (laughs). He knows what he wants to get and he goes for it. He’s very easy to work with; he lets us shine and contribute and bring ourselves into the characters.
“I am very sarcastic”
Comedy is so complicated, I never got it before and now I understand what is involved in terms of timing etc. Everything has to be so specific and the way Greg monitors and directs everything is just brilliant.
loaded: Watching you, it looks like you are a natural, yet you haven’t done comedy before.
Gadot: No I haven’t, but I like making fun of myself and being silly. And I am very sarcastic.
loaded: Has there been a particularly special moment or scene for you?
Gadot: I have enjoyed it all. I’m used to doing so many male dominated, big action movies. So all of a sudden to come here, where it is all about laughing, is great. It is a whole different thing. The atmosphere and the vibe on set is fun and lighter than what I am used to. It is just great. My daughter is here, Isla’s children are here, Zach’s son is going to come later. The set is very family friendly.
loaded: Greg has been praising your acting skills. Did you always want to perform as a child?
Gadot: Not at all, I have never planned everything that has ever happened to me but ever since I experienced acting for the first time I know that is what I wanted to do and I am lucky enough to work and do what I enjoy and love doing
loaded: How did the acting begin?
Gadot: I was studying law and international relations at university when my agent called me and said a casting director in London was looking for the new Bond girl and wanted to see me. At the time I thought, ‘I’m not going to go, I’m not an actress, the part is all in English. And I am studying in school.’ But my agent said: ‘Just go to this audition out of respect for the casting director, because she really wants to see you.’ I went with no expectations of getting the role. I just went along to say: ‘Thank you so much for asking me to come.’
Then I had a callback and another callback and a test. Nothing happened and I did not get the Bond role, but all the preparation made me realize that I really enjoyed acting. I started working with an acting coach and told my Israeli agent, ‘If there are any roles, let me know.’ A month later I landed my first Israeli role in a TV series. Three months later the same casting director wanted to see me for the Fast And Furious franchise and the rest is history. That was eight years ago.
loaded: How exciting was it getting the role as Wonder Woman?
Gadot: It was amazing and I’m so grateful and happy. Wonder Woman is the ideal woman; she doesn’t have any boundaries in terms of gender. She is a great role model. I’m so happy to be able to portray Wonder Woman on the big screen.
loaded: In the film you play a beautiful spy. The fact that Natalie and Tim are good looking is a part of the storyline. What do looks mean to you?
Gadot: Appearance is a sidekick, it’s not everything. If you look good and you don’t deliver your lines properly, and you don’t act kindly, looks do not mean anything.
loaded: Were you always aware that you had striking looks?
“I never paid any attention to my appearance”
Gadot: I never paid any attention to my appearance. I have a group of seven friends; we all grew up together from when we were eight years old. Each and every one of my friends are beautiful, so that was never an issue growing up. All I cared about was sports and dancing and school. The modeling just happened to me.
loaded: Do you think fashion and beauty is changing for women?
Gadot: I do, I think it is all about being more ripped and strong now, less skinny, less thin, which is great.
loaded: You are looking casual today, in character as Natalie. How would you describe your own style?
Gadot: I’m very casual. I get my hair and makeup done and everything done for me when I am working. But in real life I wear very light makeup, if any at all. I wear clothes that feel comfortable and are casually cool. I won’t wear high heels. Day to day.
loaded: Any big dreams?
Gadot: Just to continue acting and to work on projects that excite me. Other than that I just want everyone to be healthy and happy. No more wars, no hunger in the world … love and peace (laughs)! Sorry, that was a very ‘Miss Israel/beauty pageant thing to say’ but I do mean it. I want to see peace in the world.
loaded: You and your husband have a little girl, Alma. How challenging is it combining motherhood, family life and acting?
Gadot: Motherhood is the most important and most amazing role I’ve ever had. My daughter Alma really balances me. Motherhood is everything to me. Family puts everything in a healthy perspective. I love being a good role model for my daughter. It is important to show her that her mother works and does what she loves. My husband is very supportive; he’s amazing. We travel together all the time. We are like a family of gypsies and we enjoy it. We are citizens of the world.
loaded: How do you think you are going to deal with global fame with this movie coming out, as well as Wonder Woman and then Justice League?
Gadot: I have my family who keep me down to earth. I love what I do, I’m grateful for my job and I really enjoy it, but my first priority before everything else is my family. I think that keeps me grounded. Also, I’m a grateful person in general. I’m a person who loves people and I don’t take anything that’s happening to me for granted and I never will.
Many thanks to Gal Gadot for speaking to Elaine for loaded.
Keeping Up With The Jones is out on Digital HD, VOD and DVD 13 February 2017