The star of Wonder Woman, actress Gal Gadot, says she hopes to be a role model to a younger generation of girls – but says she wants to achieve it “not so much for myself, but for the sake of my daughter”.
The Israeli-born actress, who is a mother to a four year-old-girl, made her on-screen debut as Wonder Woman in Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year.
The part “has given me a chance to think about what kind of role models my daughter, and all of this coming generation of girls – and boys – will be exposed to. Wonder Woman is iconic, and she does bring responsibility,” she says.
Gadot is expected to be part of the celebrations on Friday 21 October when Wonder Woman is named an honorary UN Ambassador for Women and Girls, exactly 75 years after the female superhero was first published by DC Comics.
Since her part in the Fast and the Furious franchise, the former model and Miss Israel beauty queen has risen to prominence in Hollywood, and is currently starring in spy comedy Keeping Up With the Joneses opposite Mad Men’s Jon Hamm, along with Isla Fisher. She will launch her first solo film outing as Wonder Woman in the summer of 2017.
Gadot says Wonder Woman, made by Patty Jenkins, the director of 2003’s Oscar winner Monster, is a statement that “finally, we are in an interesting era when women can be whoever we really are”.
“We truly are as strong as men – perhaps not physically, but in other ways we are as strong and that’s now okay. We can be ourselves.
“Wonder Woman’s strength is not masculinised in any way.”
Gadot has also commented that the character “can be bisexual”, after a long-standing Wonder Woman writer, Greg Rucka, recently said he thought the superhero must have had gay relationships as she came from a female-only island. But Gadot points out there are no bi-sexual relationships in the new Wonder Woman film.
Gadot’s current movie, Keeping Up With the Joneses, directed by Superbad’s Greg Mottola, marks her first foray into comedy, as she and Hamm play a seemingly perfect suburban couple, who fascinate their ordinary neighbours – until they are drawn into a world of espionage.
However, Gadot’s character Natalie is regarded as far more fearsome than her husband Tim. The actress says: “As a former Mossad agent, Natalie may even be a bit intimidating to her husband. She’s always dominant and wants things to happen according to her agenda.”
In reality Gadot says she deplores the idea of competition between the sexes, and insists that shouldn’t be the purpose of an on-screen female superhero either.
“It’s not about women versus men any longer, and who is better or stronger than who. There’s enough room for all of us – and boys and girls, women and men should remember that.
“Wonder Woman has a very simple agenda – she believes in good and that people should be happy.”
Jon Hamm, best-known for his Emmy-award winning portrayal of advertising executive Don Draper in the less female-friendly environment of 1960s Manhattan, says he’s glad to see movies “moving away from this binary idea girls will do one thing and men do another”.
“I personally find it nice to see a female superhero whose power isn’t about being a homemaker. It’s nice to move that conversation forward, and take gender politics out of the equation.”
The rest of the cast of Keeping Up With the Joneses admit to feeling intimidated originally of working with the Israeli actress, because of her extensive stunt training on previous films.
Shopaholic star Isla Fisher, who plays a next-door neighbour, highlights that Gadot is a “former Miss Israel, and there’s about four feet in height between us – so yes, there was a certain reluctance on my part about our fight scenes”.
But Gadot says her biggest challenge was learning “how to be funny”.
“This is funny, right in the middle of stunts and action, in a way that I have never experienced before. It’s sharp comedy.
“Isla and I have to fight in this film, and it was the dead of night, filming in sub-zero temperatures, and yet I had to try and remember to have fun. That was something I had to learn, to enjoy the moment.
“I have no problem with actually trying to intimidate people on screen at all, so we were both there trying to outdo each other. On camera, I can be very intimidating. Off camera, you’d probably find me playing backgammon.”