By Angela Dawson
GAL GADOT steps into the boots of one of the legendary comic book heroes — Wonder Woman — and she’s not taking the job sitting down. Literally. Owing to a recent back injury, the Israeli actress stands throughout a recent press conference to promote the self-titled superhero movie, for which she unnecessarily apologizes.
“I’m not trying to be superior here or become a diva,” she says, with a smile.
Fans of DC Comics’ most famous female superhero have been waiting decades for a big screen version of Wonder Woman. There is the long history of the comic books and, of course, the 1970’s TV series that starred Lynda Carter as the golden lasso twirling, bullet repelling, crown-tossing, high jumping heroine.
Wonder Woman is an origin story, in which Gadot plays Diana, princess of the Amazons. On a secluded female-only island, she meets American Air Force pilot Steve Trevor, who tells her about the wars going on in the outside world. Diana is convinced she possesses the skills required to end the conflict, and she leaves the island to fight alongside men. In the process, she discovers her power and her destiny.
Audiences got a glimpse of Gadot’s take on Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman) in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. The girl-power infused Wonder Woman not only stars Gadot in the lead role, but it also is directed by a female director, Patty Jenkins (who directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar win in 2003’s Monster.)
Gadot, who previously had a supporting role in Fast and Furious 6 as well as the spy comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses is also a wife and mother of two. She gave birth to her second daughter in March.
She, along with Star Trek’s Chris Pine, who plays military pilot Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman, spoke about making this female-empowering action adventure.
Q: How do you feel now that this movie is finally coming out?
Gadot: Amazing, overwhelming. I feel very grateful. So far so good. It’s like a dream coming true. Working on this project has been such a phenomenal, unique, special experience. Now, with some of the reactions and feedback we’ve been getting, I just feel like “thank you.” I’m super excited and very, very happy.
Q: One of Wonder Woman’s greatest super powers is her compassion. Do you agree with that assessment, and what do you hope audiences take away after seeing this movie?
Gadot: That’s one of her biggest strengths. When Patty (Jenkins, the director) and I first met we were having dinner and started talking about families and life and I told her about my grandfather who was a Holocaust survivor. He had taught me that no matter how dark it gets in life you need to find your inner light, and I think that compassion is a big (part of that). It was very important to both of us that this movie have a message. In these superhero movies, it’s usually the bad guys are killed by the good guys and the end. But, we wanted to have a profound message that everyone can relate to and can take home and actually practice it.
Q: Can you talk about the stunts and fighting styles? We hear director Patty Jenkins was very into it.
Gadot: Patty was always very invested whether it was the fight sequences or the emotional scenes. She was always there, shoulder to shoulder with us. It was amazing. As far as fighting styles, we were working with the most professional people. We had the most amazing second unit directors and we did a lot of different types of martial arts but we mostly focused on our fight choreographies because there were so many and time was limited. I did a lot of this (she flicks her hand and arm indicating throwing her golden lasso. This makes Chris laugh) and sword work. There wasn’t something in particular. I did a lot of boxing just because I enjoy it and it helped me build my body. Also, it was very explosive and explosive movement was something that was really important for my character but I didn’t go through judo or Krav Maga martial art.
Q: How about you, Chris?
Pine: Me? I didn’t have to do a **** thing. All the women had to train and know a lot of choreography and I just simply didn’t. I just showed up, read a lot and I like to shoot guns and make it look like I know what I’m doing. I always like playing characters who’ve been educated in barroom fights. They just get it done as messy and as quick as possible and I have a great stunt double who is similar to me in that regard. We just figure it out. Every time I see something that is too sharply defined I want to make it as messy as possible. So, I didn’t do anything.
Q: Did you get injured?
Pine: I was bruised all the time, nothing major. A mark here, a mark there but the most painful thing that happened to me was when we shot in Italy and we were shooting this fight sequence and I just stepped on a sea urchin and that was painful but other than that (I didn’t). Honestly, we got to work with such professionals that they made sure that once we got to set we were one hundred percent ready. There was no room for any question marks or mistakes. But it was challenging, the corsets, arching an arrow you get a bruise and the cold but it was worth it.
Q: How did you like being on set with so many women?
Pine: I had great fun. We shot in Italy and it was me and beautiful saronged women doing their (thing). I had the time of my life vacationing in Italy making a film with Amazon warriors; one man’s hell, another man’s heaven.
Q: Chris you fit very well into the movie. You are not intimidating with all these women around you but how is it being the love of Wonder Woman’s life?
Pine: (motioning to Gal) Look at her. It’s not a bad gig. It’s a great and rare combination of qualities to have. She has to be physically very formidable and compelling and magnetic and I think that sometimes can come across as harsh because there is a sharpness to beauty sometimes. It can be very overwhelming. But, simultaneously, she has a warmth and a curiosity that’s very true and very childlike. When she smiles, it makes me giggle because it’s just pure. There is a purity to it. That softness and beauty and that strength that’s, to me, the critical combination and she has it in spades. She doesn’t have to try to do it. So, my job was very easy. I got to come to work, fall in love with her, make her laugh as much as I could, flirt, act like a ******* and that’s it.
Gadot: That’s really flattering and I paid him a lot of money to say that.
Q: Gal, what do you love most about Diana/Wonder Woman?
Gadot: She embodies all the most wonderful qualities that I love in people. She is curious and warm and she’s loving and very inclusive. She assumes the best out of everyone. She’s sassy and has her own attitude which is wonderful but, at the same time, she’s not trying to be perfect. She can be very vulnerable and confused and naive and worried and fixed on her mission but I love everything about her because she’s not perfect. She’s whole and interesting.