Gal Gadot to the rescue! 'Wonder Woman' charts a new course for superheroes
If you want to see what Wonder Woman is like in her downtime, FaceTime with Gal Gadot.
The morning after her superhero's world premiere, Gadot calls in from her home in Los Angeles. The 32-year-old poised to take over the world (Wonder Woman arrives in theaters Thursday night) is munching on toast, her hair up and her face makeup-free, giving the back sprain that’s been plaguing her a moment's rest as she lays on the bed.
The star's home is crowded with family: in-laws, her husband, her 2-month-old daughter, Maya (who makes her presence known with a few tiny cries) and her eldest daughter, Alma, 5.
But Gadot is still exhaling. “We had so much positive agenda in the movie, and we weren’t sure if it’s going to come through or if it’s going to read all right or if people would get the jokes,” says the actress. “And finally, watching the movie with everyone, seeing everyone’s reaction, it felt so great.”
The superhero known to mortals as Diana Prince was raised on Themyscira, the all-female island where the Amazons train as warriors, should Earth need saving. A plane carrying a charismatic World War I spy named Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) crashes into neighboring waters.
After saving him, Diana — who, comically, has never met a man — demands to be taken to the front so she can confront the god of war. "Steve has seen a lot of the awful things that men can do to one another," says Pine. "He doesn’t have a lot of hope when we meet him, and he meets this woman who has a lot."
Diana’s sense of self is, frankly, glorious. “She was brought up in an environment (where gender) wasn’t even an issue,” says Gadot, whose character refuses to be sidelined by her male cohorts on the battlefield.
Gadot was born and raised in Israel, entering the army for two years. The daughter of a teacher mom and an engineer dad, she surprised herself by winning the Miss Israel pageant in 2004. Gadot attended a year of law school before unsuccessfully auditioning to be a Bond girl in 2008's Quantum of Solace and ultimately gained fame through the Fast and Furious franchise.
Her Wonder Woman fights with awesome strength but has a message of love and compassion. It’s a duality rarely seen in action roles written for women.
“Power and strength are qualities that are very familiar with men,” says Gadot. “And once women have this quality, then automatically they’re (written as) colder. ... But in real life, it’s not true. Most women who are strong, they’re very loving and warm and inclusive.”
Now, about the F-word. Wonder Woman is "of course" a feminist, says Gadot. But the film uses humor (cue Wonder Woman ripping her full Edwardian skirts mid-Judo kick) to lift the veil on sexism.
Director Patty Jenkins (Monster) studiously avoided lecturing on gender equality, choosing to show it instead. “So often, one is only preaching to your believers,” she says. “What I loved about Wonder Woman is that she’s absolutely oblivious to (sexism)."
Gadot isn't oblivious to the fame that’s knocking on her door.
But "for me, I live my life as Gal every day," she says. "When I came back from the premiere (after midnight) with bags of In-N-Out, my daughter was up because she didn’t want to go to sleep. You go back to normal life. It’s not that I got back and all the Amazons are waiting for me at the house!"