Gal Gadot: Training for Wonder Woman is harder than Israeli army

Meher Tatna
The New Paper
24 May 2017

Not only is Gal Gadot Wonder Woman in the movies, she is Wonder Woman in real life as well.

Seven weeks ago, the 32-year-old Israeli actress gave birth to her second child, and a few days ago, she threw her back out so badly she cannot sit.

Yet, she showed up to the movie's press junket looking spectacular in a black Michael Kors dress and gets through the entire interview at the Warner Bros facility 3Labs in Culver City, California, standing up.

"It's the stress and the excitement and the baby and the breastfeeding," said Gadot.

Wonder Woman made a brief appearance in last year's Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and Gadot was widely considered the best thing in the critically panned movie.


Now she is headlining Wonder Woman's origin story in the Patty Jenkins-directed film of the same name, which opens here on May 31.

We learn about Diana, who was raised on an island by female warriors called Amazons. She is trained in combat but is so protected that she has no idea of the real world, and she has never even seen a man.

That all changes when she saves the life of an American pilot (Chris Pine) who crash-lands off the island. When he tells her about the ongoing World War I, she goes to the front line with him, in the process discovering her true destiny.

While her career trajectory has been relatively short in the United States, Gadot - who appeared in a few Fast and Furious flicks - was well known in Israel since she was crowned Miss Israel Universe in 2004.

Since then, she splits her time acting, modelling and the Israeli army, where all citizens over 18 are conscripted.

"Fame I am not paying attention to," she said.

"It is a side effect. Being famous in Israel for many years made me used to what is going on (in Hollywood) with the paparazzi. It is just white noise.

"The only great thing about it is that now I don't have to go through exhausting auditions.

"Now I get the script, and if I like it, I can do it, and if I don't like it, I pass on it. And this is mind-blowing to me."

But it wasn't always this way.

Gadot said: "I had so many camera tests, I was just sick of it.

"The rejection was the hardest part about being an actor (in Hollywood). I told my husband (Israeli real estate developer Yaron Varsano) that maybe it is not for me.

"And then Zack Snyder (director of Batman V Superman and producer of Wonder Woman) asked me to come and do an audition for something, but he wouldn't say what it was for.

"I did the audition, and I went back home to shoot an Israeli movie."

Like all good Hollywood stories, there was a happy ending.

Intensive training in swordsmanship, horse riding, gongfu and kickboxing followed, which she said was harder than the Israeli army training, and eventually put on 7.7kg of muscle.

Said Gadot: "I was a dancer for 12 years and learning the fight choreography reminded me a lot of dancing.

"I thought I was going to love horse riding because it always looked easy, but it was not easy at all, it was super painful.

"The weapon I liked the most was the Lasso of Truth. Because it is not aggressive like the sword, and it gets people to be honest and have no mask and just say the truth."

Gadot also worked on making Diana a real person.

"It was important that we didn't portray this character as a ball-buster or a cold woman, just because she is so strong. We show her flaws, and we show that she is not perfect.

"She can be the greatest warrior, and at the same time she can be naive and curious and blunt and confident, but worried and not really knowing what to do. For me, that is what makes her interesting," she said.

Gadot was pregnant with Maya - named after the late US poet Maya Angelou - when she was shooting Justice League, Wonder Woman's next appearance in the DC Extended Universe, which will be out later this year.

She said motherhood is a lot easier the second time around.

Said Gadot: "I feel like with my first one, (six-year-old) Alma, I was a lot more nervous.

"With Maya, I am at ease. It is just different, you have the experience now.

"It is always hard to be away from your babies, especially when they are that small. Maya doesn't know anything, she just needs affection and warmth. Alma is the one who needs more attention, and she is an amazing big sister.

"I am really lucky that I have this island of sanity that is my own, my family.