Wonder Woman is back in our lives (and we are thankful for it). After making her first big screen appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the iconic superhero, played by Gal Gadot, stars in her first stand-alone movie.
“I used to want to save the world, this beautiful place,” says Gal in the new Wonder Woman trailer. “But the closer you get, the more you see the great darkness within. I learned this the hard way, a long, long time ago.”
In this interview – which took place before Gal’s announcement that she is pregnant with her second child – the actress talked to loaded about playing Wonder Woman, working with Ben Affleck as Batman, juggling her career and motherhood, growing up in Israel, her role models and more…
loaded: Hi Gal, so what can you tell us about Wonder Woman’s first solo movie?
Gadot: In Batman v Superman [BvS] you get a glimpse of who Diana Prince is but not where she comes from. In Wonder Woman this would be the first time we ever tell the coming of age story of the character, of how Diana becomes Wonder Woman. What you see is very different from BvS. It’s funny because I went through a different process. Usually as an actress I get a role and start at the beginning, get involved with the character, it evolves and then we get to the end. Here, I’m starting at the end in BvS. Now we’re going to travel 100 years back in time and tell this complex character story. In BvS she is very experienced – super confident, a grown-up woman. But then, she’s more naïve, she’s pure, she’s this young idealist. She doesn’t understand the complexities of men and life. It’s a growing up story and it’s very interesting.
loaded: DC Comic films are often accused of being dark compared to Marvel films. Will Wonder Woman follow that or be lighter?
Gadot: It has moments of humour but it’s pretty dark. Patty [Jenkins], the director of Wonder Woman, is the best director for this movie. She’s all about the heart of the story and the soul. We all saw before the beautiful coming of age of Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, we don’t know anything about WW.
loaded: How was it working with Ben Affleck as Batman?
Gadot: Working with Ben was amazing; he’s such a professional, so talented. It was also great to work with an actor that was a director. There was added value. The way we play off each other is interesting.
loaded: When Zack Snyder offered you the role of Wonder Woman, did you know there would be her own movie plus various spin-offs, including BvS and Justice League?
Gadot: We didn’t talk at all about the commitment of it – but I’m happy about it. I’m all about commitment. I’m a Taurus, very loyal! I’ve worked with the Fast & Furious family for years I’m happy I have this new amazing family to be with.
loaded: As a working mother, were you hesitant about accepting the role? You’d be away from home a lot…
Gadot: There is always hesitation. Being a mother [to Alma, four] really set my priorities, she comes before everything. I have the best partner [husband, Yaron Versano] to do what I do. I wasn’t sure how it was going to work with travelling. We lead a very hectic life. And my husband told me, “when you have a child what kind of role model do you want to be? You are who you are, you love to work, you love to challenge yourself, you love what you do. Are you going to give this all up just because…?”
loaded: What kind of childhood did you have growing up in Rosh HaAyin, Israel?
Gadot: A very happy childhood. I was a tomboy. I see little girls now who love nail polish, not me. I had bruises on my knees, I used to play volleyball, basketball, tennis and dodgeball. I was a dancer all my life, too. So, I was always very active. I grew up in Rosh HaAyin very close to Tel Aviv and still have so many friends that I grew up with, a group of seven of us. In Tel Aviv it’s the extreme – the coolest great minds go there, but it’s a general thing about Israeli women that they are feisty. They go to the army, they’re very confident. Israel is a melting pot.
loaded: Would you say that you’re confident?
Gadot: Yes, but not in a sassy way! When you own it, you don’t need to show it so much. It’s funny to say good things about myself. It can’t come across nicely. But growing up I was very independent. I always felt strong.
loaded: What did you think of LA when you first went there?
Gadot: I didn’t like LA at all. It felt like everyone was in the industry. The waitress is an actress, the guy in the gas station is a producer. It was too much for me. But being there so often, at the end of the day, you find people who are like you. I made friends. Now I love it. Now I can find myself in LA.
loaded: There has been a lot of talk about women in Hollywood, gender disparity, salary issues… Where do you stand on all this?
Gadot: I think we’re in a very interesting era for women in general. I still think we need more to be done. There is a lot of room for many more women to come into the industry, not just as actresses but as producers, writers, directors and people behind the scenes. There’s a lot of room for everyone. There’s a good momentum. I’m happy we’re bringing Wonder Woman back to life. There are so many male role models, and they’re great, but there aren’t many female ones and I’m very happy that she’s going to be one of those. We’re going to start a trend here as well where we’ll have.
loaded: What was your first introduction to Wonder Woman?
Gadot: I was not a big comic fan. The Lynda Carter show was way before my time, but obviously when they cast me for this I did my research, now I know all there is to know about Wonder Woman. I have a lot of respect for what Lynda did, but we’re bringing a different vision – Zack had a solid vision. Very different to the one played by Lynda. We’re going back to the original story. She’s not all American. We’re sticking to original.
loaded: You were in the comedies Date Night and Keeping Up With The Joneses. Was it fun doing comedy?
Gadot: Oh, Date Night was nothing. But Joneses was a joy. A hilarious cast. I’d love to do more comedy but my life right now is all about Wonder Woman. I’m working on that, then Justice League. I have a lot on my plate. I’m going through a minor identity crisis! But it’s the same character and I love her. I love everything she stands for. She’s all about love, equality, truth, compassion and justice. For me it was important that people can relate, men, women, boys, girls, didn’t want her to be polished, I wanted her to have an edge. I’ve been shooting for so long she’s becoming me and I’m becoming her. I’ll find myself thinking, what would Wonder Woman do?
Thanks, Gal, for speaking to loaded. You can follow her on Instagram, and don’t forget to go and see Wonder Woman when it comes out on June 2.
Credit: Samantha Fraser / HOT Features