The Star/Asia News Network
Actress Gal Gadot poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of Criminal at a central London cinema, Thursday, April 7, 2016. (Invision/AP/Joel Ryan)
She almost steals the film from superheroes Batman and Superman, but to really appreciate Gal Gadot, you have to meet her in person.
Before the press conference we knew her as a high-priced fashion model. But who knew she was so articulate and charismatic!
And yes she’s gorgeous, strikingly tall. Despite all these assets, getting the part of Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice wasn’t a given.
It was all done in secrecy. The 30-year-old Gadot read for director Zack Snyder, did a screen test with Ben Affleck, and the former kept her waiting three months before he gave her the role.
So now you’re the cornerstone of a new Warner Bros franchise, it must be a dream come true?
It is, but my dream was never to become an actor. I started out as a dancer, which I did for 12 years, but I always wanted to be a choreographer and to express myself with my body. Little did I know that one day I was going to express myself in a very different way.
But you first became famous as a model?
Almost everything that’s happened to me happened by accident. As a teenager – because I am so tall (1.78m) – I got many offers to be a model. But I was a dancer, and I looked down on modelling. To pose and get money for it? It’s so shallow.
But then after I graduated high school and had quit dancing, I was asked to participate in the Miss Israel pageant, which in Israel is huge and very prestigious. I had a few months before my military service so I decided to go for the experience.
And then I won. I was so overwhelmed and surprised and shocked. After that, I went to Milan for six months just so as not to be under the eyes of the paparazzi. And that’s where I started doing modelling.
So how did you get into acting?
After my service in the military, I decided to pursue an academic career. I went to Law and International Relationship School for my degree, but then my modelling agent called me and said there was a casting call for a Bond Girl and the casting director wanted me to test for it.
And I said no way, I am not an actress, it’s all in English, and I am working on my degree right now. And he said, please, please, just go out of respect.
So, I did, and I had a call back and another call back and even though I didn’t get the part, I found it so fascinating and interesting I decided to give acting a try.
Two months later, I got my first part as a lead in an Israeli TV show. and three months after that, I was cast in Fast & Furious. And now I am Wonder Woman. So yes I am living a dream.
Not many actresses serve in the military. What was that experience like?
Let me start by saying that I wish no country would ever need an army. Unfortunately, it’s not the case in Israel, and for me, it’s just so normal.
My parents went to the Army, my grandparents went to the Army, and my friends went to the Army. My best friend is a fighter pilot; it’s the reality of Israel.
When you reach 18, you have to do the service. It’s hard, because you have to give up your freedom for two years, but on the other hand, there is something beautiful about giving back to community, and that is our way to give back to our country.
What were your precise duties?
I was a combat trainer. I went through an intensive physical boot camp for three months, which meant going to sleep early, waking up really early, taking showers with girls, no privacy, no nothing. But it was very educating.
A good preparation for playing Wonder Woman.
Were you always a fan of Wonder Woman?
Growing up, I wasn’t a big fan of comics. I knew of her, I mean Wonder Woman is a household name, but I didn’t know much about her. I wasn’t born when the Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman show was on, but I did a lot of research after I was cast.
Wonder Woman was an inspiration to many girls back then.
But for my generation, there aren’t many female superheroes as role models. For guys, there was always Superman, Batman and Spider-Man, but not many female superheroes, and that’s why I feel so privileged and lucky to be the one who is going to bring her back to life and tell her story.
Your surname means riverbank. So, you must love water.
I live five minutes away from the beach, and I love the ocean, so it’s not random that my parents named me Gal which means “wave”.
With your experience as a model, you must be quite comfortable walking the red carpet. Is fashion still your passion?
Believe it or not, I am not a girly girl. High heels and stuff like that, I can pull off, but I don’t really like it. Growing up, I was very much a tomboy. I sit like a man, I have long legs. So, I’m not picky, I’m very comfortable in whatever I wear.
Now that you have a daughter of your own, what does motherhood mean for you now? (She married businessman Yaron Versano in 2008 and together they have a four-year-old daughter)
Being a mum is the most important role I will ever have. I love my daughter. She is the most precious thing I have in my life.
What did you learn from your parents that you want to pass on to her?
Since becoming a mother I have so much appreciation for my parents. I now understand their worries, their nagging, everything.
How did you and your husband meet?
A girlfriend dragged me to this party in the desert. His friend had also dragged him there because he wanted him to hook up with my girlfriend, who did not know about him, but he knew about her.
Anyway, she dragged me there and he was dragged there, and we just found each other. And ever since we’ve been together.
How is he adjusting to being married to Wonder Woman?
Fortunately I married a very strong man; he is very confident and for him it’s natural. I did my first talk show recently, and I was super nervous, stressing out about them, and he just said, “Gal, no one is testing you, just be.”
So, he is such a good anchor for me, and he knows how to keep me in my zone, we are the best team ever.
What can we expect from your stand-alone movie coming out next year?
A different Wonder Woman. In Batman V Superman, she’s a very experienced, kind of dark Wonder Woman, who has been around a long time. Something happened 100 years ago that made her not want to be involved in a man’s world.
But in the Wonder Woman solo movie, we are going to tell the entire coming-of-age story of Diana and how she became Wonder Woman.
She is very different than the Diana that you see in this one. She is more naïve, and she is like this young idealist who does not yet understand the complexities of life.