At a time when the movie industry desperately needs to be resuscitated, Gal Gadot’s reinvention of Wonder Woman is not jsut a cash bounty for film distributors Warner Bros. More than that, for the Israeli, the DC comics character finally repreesnts someone who can empower the fairer sex with the courage, conviction and confidence to succeed; and when you look at how the 35-year-old actress is shaping up for 2021, who are we to disagree?
Gal Gadot’s route to becoming one of the biggest female action movie stars in Hollywood has been in her mastering of what is a unique combination of energy and elegance. The fearless former Miss Israel is turning heads wherever she goes, not least when she’s out on her speeding Ducati. That’s because while so many of the action Alist actually live rather serene, simple and unspectacular existences away from the flickering flashbulbs, the actress’s passion for high-octane accomplishment goes far beyond a movie script.
Of course, for Gal and for so many others like her, the movie industry shutdown across 2020 has given even more opportunity to explore personal downtime. While precious few films have made it into cinemas, others have been repositioned for premium cable channels such as Netflix, with the vast majority remaining ‘in the can’, so to speak, with release dates reconfigured and reshuffed. It has left one of the 2020’s most hotly-anticipated movies, Wonder Woman 1984, contemplating a festive release date in cinemas, where finally a global fanbase can get an update on an actress who has now
dined at the top table of the movie industry for over a decade.
From the Fast & Furious franchise, through three portrayals of Wonder Woman leading into her new movie, across comedy fodder with Keeping up with the Joneses, and even into animated action in the form of Ralph Breaks the Internet, what stands Gadot apart is her insistence to embody a role in every way possible, be that through physical transformation, in portraying characters well outside her comfort zone, or in the greatest extreme, taking on all her own stunts (that is, subject to the agreement of her representatives and collected lawyers!).
And that is typical of Gadot, who once ran fitness boot camps during her time completing national service with the Israeli Defence Forces. “I think because of my background, I have never been afraid of fight scenes or swordplay or martial arts
“Once you start down that road and get used to driving through roles physically as well all the work in rehearsing a script, you find there’s more and more you want to take on.
Gadot’s breakthrough role, as the leather-clad Gisele in four of the Fast & Furious films, gave viewers the chance to see her, in her own words: “drive fast and do crazy stuff I would never do in real life”. Whether it was slaloming through the streets of Rio de Janeiro on a 1,198cc Ducati Streetfighter S, or leaping from the motorcycle onto a moving Jeep, Gadot was determined to show that women in action movies, just like real life, can really do it all.
And that sentiment continues on into the long-delayed for the Wonder Woman sequel. “The delays are frustrating, but it’s reassuring to think finally now we can enjoy the movie. And despite everything, it is always a pleasure and a dream to be playing a strong and dynamic woman like Wonder Woman.
“It was a movie I was so thrilled to come back to because I never wanted to play the sexy girlfriend character or damsels in distress who need to be rescued by a man. I see myself as a very self-condent and independent woman and I think women today are becoming more assertive and prouder.”
Crowned Miss Israel in 2004, Gadot went on to represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant, and from this exposure became an international supermodel. She’s been one of the leading models for Castro and has featured in global campaigns for several major brands.
The cover girl proved she had star quality but it wasn’t enough for some critics who were not so convinced by her casting as Wonder Woman, saying she was too skinny to play the Amazonian superhero. However, she eortlessly counters that type of negativity: “My military training gave me a strong sense of discipline and responsibility, and anyway, all my life I’ve been dealing with that kind of criticism so I’m immune to it. I’m thin, but I’m very strong and fit too.
“At the moment, with what is going on in the world, I believe physical tness is so much at the heart of driving forward with positivity,” she says. “I would encourage anyone to start afresh with 2021, in terms of our perception of the world and our freedoms, but also in how we look on ourselves and how we can repair physically what was a very fragmented and difficult year.
“Being a mother has certainly allowed me an extra incentive to do my very best in every situation,” she says, referencing children Alma, nine, and Maya, three, with husband Yaron Varsano, “but I know how easy it is to lose spirit or fight. Life is difficult.”
She admits becoming an actress was never part of her plan; in fact it took some persuading by her agent to convince her to go for her first audition playing Camille opposite Daniel Craig’s Bond in Quantum of Solace. Though this part ended up going to Olga Kurylenko, it was enough to get Gadot hooked on the idea of acting.
“Even though I didn’t get the part, the entire experience and process of auditioning made me realize that acting was my next big goal. It was something I knew instinctively that I could be good at and all my friends told me that I should give it a shot.” Three months later she landed a part in Fast and Furious 4, a role which no doubt convinced Batman vs Superman director Zack Snyder that Gadot had the mettle to play such a tough, physically aggressive character, and so the Wonder Woman experiment came to fruition.
While the rest, most certainly, is history, it’s the future the actress is now solely focused on. She has a career, a family and extraordinary wealth that should help her concentrate on doing all the “real” things in life that matter. “I know true happiness can only come from within, and for as much as I have achieved, I still need to work on getting all then other things right in my head.
“There is no given right to be happy — it doesn’t matter who you are — but it is the one thing we all want to achieve.
“Raising my daughters has made me so much stronger — it has brought me both a lot of energy and a lot of good luck, and certainly the most happiness I have ever felt in my life.”