Gal Gadot is already ahead of the curve when it comes to playing Wonder Woman. While Batman v Superman received a critical drubbing, Gadot’s performance as the Amazonian superhero was warmly greeted by the fans who felt that she perfectly embodied the character they had been waiting to see on the big screen for the decades. While her presence in Batman v Superman was a mere snapshot of the character, she carried the role well and left fans wanting to see more.
In February 2016, some fellow journalists and I went to London to visit the set of Wonder Woman and during our time there, we got to speak with Gadot, who had just been running on a treadmill in front of a green screen “deflecting” bullets with her magical bracelets. During our interview
So, what is the best thing about getting to play Wonder Woman?
GAL GADOT: Not that. [laughter] The best part? Somehow I think that I always wished to play Wonder Woman, without even knowing it myself. 8 years ago, when I just became an actress, I used to travel to Los Angeles and take general meetings with different producers, writers, directors, and they kept on asking me the same question over and over again, “What’s your dream role?” And I kept on saying, I’m open to all genres as long as the story is interesting enough, but if you’re really asking what would I like to do, is to show the stronger side of women, because I feel that there’s not enough stories being told about strong women, and independent women, and little did I know that five years later, I’d land the part.
What’s the most challenging thing, and feel free to say running on a treadmill forever.
GADOT: We were just talking about it this morning, because we’re going through some very, very intensive weeks. Patty was just saying, they’re really, really testing to see if you’re the true, real Wonder Woman, because they decided to shoot the movie in London, which is fantastic, in the winter, which is less amazing, while I wear, while we shoot outside, nights, days, two weeks of night coming up, wearing a very short piece of rubber, running, jumping, needing to fight, with all that. So, it’s, the physicality of it is really challenging, but I like it. I enjoy it. It makes me happy after I do it right, but I really, really love Diana. I love everything about her. I love the story. She has a heart of a human being, powers of goddess and a very wise brain. So, I, she’s everything. I love her.
Who’s your favorite character other than yourself. Who’s your favorite character so far?
GADOT: The main one is Steve, and I really, really enjoy working with Chris. He’s a great partner, funny, we have lots of laughs on set, and I think that his character, in comparison to Diana’s character, they’re very much, yin and yang. He’s this realistic guy, who’s been through a lot, and he knows what mankind is capable of doing, and Diana is this young idealist, who thinks that the world is very white, very pure, mankind are only good, and there’s something in their, you know, once they get to know each other, he teaches her so much about reality and mankind, and she brings back hope to his life.
Kind of branching off that question, this film is set about 100 years before the events of Batman v. Superman, so how did you kind of change your approach to the character?
GADOT: Well, the character is different. The character that we shot, that I played in BvS was more realistic and more mature and more of a woman, you know, mature woman. In this one, this is the coming of age of Diana. This is her story of, she starts as a very naive girl, naive, positive, happy, seeking for good girl, but in BvS, she’s been, she’s been through a lot. She already understood what, the complexity of human beings, and she’s more, she’s just more mature in BvS.
Building off of that, we heard in the most recent trailer, your voice. In Batman v Superman, you kind of have…
GADOT: What do you think of my voice? Too low?
Sort of an American, British accent…
GADOT: You expect it more like.. [makes high pitched sound]
But the accent was what I thought was interesting, so I’m curious, does she have that accent when she’s on Themysciara or is that something that develops over her course of being with humanity?
GADOT: Her accent on, in this one, in Wonder Woman is more Themysciarian. She still has some of the Themysciarian accent on BvS, but she knows hundreds of languages, starting here, starting in Themsysciara, well educated to know, to speak every language that we can think of, and in this one, she has a heavier accent, Themysciarian accent than on BvS; it’s lighter, but it’s still there. She’s still foreign, She’s still from a different place.
Can you talk about Diana’s relationship with her mom?
GADOT: Yeah, interesting question. So, as you know, Connie Nielson plays my mother. She’s fantastic, and I really enjoy working with her. Diana is a very opinionated girl. She was the only child raised on this island, so she’s the special kid, and she was very, she was nurtured by her mother and by her aunts and all of the women in Themysciara. So, she’s very, very opinionated. Her mother is very opinionated. Her mother is very protective as well, and they have, you know, the very natural clash that a mother has with her daughter, with their daughters, the first time they want to leave home. So, it’s a very emotional moment, very intensive moment, but it’s what I love about Diana is that so many, in so many different points in this story, she has conflicts that every human being has, you know. She’s very—it’s easy to relate to her. She’s very accessible. That’s it.
Other than her physical strength, what do you think makes her such a feministic hero?
GADOT: Other than her powers?
Yeah, because obviously we know she’s so strong both physically and…
GADOT: First of all, she doesn’t see that difference between any gender difference. It’s not even an issue, you know. She comes from this world where men and women are equal and it’s not a thing to be a man or to be a woman. She sees, she feels that she can do everything and she will go for it. She’s a peace seeker; she wouldn’t go and look to start a battle or a fight. She would try to solve it in any other different way, but I think that’s what’s beautiful about Wonder Woman, is that she’s, it’s funny, because I just had the conversation with my daughter two nights ago. I put her to bed and I was reading her a story and it was about princesses and Ariel the mermaid, whatever, and then she was talking about the prince, the guy, she called him the prince, and she said, “Yeah, and the prince, they’re usually very strong.”
And I asked her, “And what about the princesses?”
“And how do you think they should be, Alma? (My daughter’s name is Alma.)”
She said, “They should be strong. They should be strong,” and I feel very proud that finally this movie is being made, because all of you guys, all men and all boys, always had a figure to look up to, whether it’s Superman or Batman or Spider-Man, or whatever it is, they always had heroes to look up to and for girls, it’s always the princesses are being saved or being passive and finally Wonder Woman, she’s fearless, she’s proactive, she believes in herself. She believes she can do everything, and that’s a true woman for me.
Did you follow Wonder Woman’s story when you were growing up?
GADOT: Not really, to be honest. No. I knew of her, but I, the Lynda Carter show, the Wonder Woman show, I wasn’t born then. After I got cast, I saw some of the reruns.
Is your daughter familiar with Wonder Woman?
GADOT: Yes, she is. Yes, she is. Yes she is.
Is she excited?
GADOT: Yeah, she’s super excited.
You were talking about pop culture figures for young people to look up and the boys had many. Who did you look up to in pop culture when you were young?
GADOT: Let me think, if I had any, but I don’t, like I didn’t have a strong female figure to look up to. Only when I was a teenager, then I loved different artists, you know, women, but as a girl, I didn’t have a strong figure to look up to, other than my mother.
How would you sell this movie to boys who may be thinking well, this is for girls?
GADOT: This is such a universal story. It’s such a universal story. It’s a beautiful story about a beautiful soul, that tried to save the world and do better, and she doesn’t know much of what she’s getting into. She’s very naive, but her love of her life is educating her, and showing her, in a very sophisticated way, he shows her the reality that she gets, she got into, and there’s a beautiful, just a beautiful love story about a girl who grows, who is growing up.
How do you juggle the fantastic of gods and goddesses and superpowers with the actual historical setting of WWI?
GADOT: Well, it was very easy, because when we shot, when we, when we shoot Themysciara when we shoot the island, it’s going to be only Themysciara for a month in Italy, it’s going to have its own vibe, and up until now, we’re shooting here in London, grey, cold London, WWI, it was just like, I was here for, you know, for WWI and when we shoot Themysciara, I’m going to be in Themysciara, with the Amazons and it’s going to be…
So the actual setting really?
We’ve heard that Diana really has own fighting style for her, that mixes things. Can you talk about figuring that out and training for it?
GADOT: The training, yeah, I did a lot of training. I trained, I do swords training. I did boxing. I did martial arts, like different, I don’t know, yeah, I don’t know how to call the styles that I’ve been taught, but…it’s a real mix of everything.
GADOT: I’m going to call it WonderFu. Because all of the stunt coordinators, they come from every discipline, so she just takes something from everybody and then just made it into this amazing fighting style.