In 'Batman v Superman,' Wonder Woman is the real hero
Actress Gal Gadot earns praise for her performance from critics, co-stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill.
With fans eagerly anticipating an epic superhero face-off, “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” is on track to score big at the global box office this weekend. Film critics who have seen early screenings agree that one big lure is the much-heralded debut of Israeli actress Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, a taste of what’s to come in the “Wonder Woman” movie in 2017.
It’s the highest-profile role yet for the former Miss Israel, whose credits include “Date Night," ”Knight and Day,” “Triple 9” and the “Fast & Furious” movies, and the upcoming “Keeping up with the Joneses” later this year alongside Jon Hamm from "Mad Men" fame.
As part of a whirlwind of promotional appearances for the movie, Gadot participated in a press conference with the cast and filmmakers, co-stars Ben Affleck (Batman), Henry Cavill (Superman) and director Zack Snyder among them.
“Gal cuts a fine figure as Wonder Woman. She brings something particular, something statuesque and something otherworldly to the character and it’s remarkable to see,” raved Cavill, and Affleck agreed. “She’s the best. Gal did such a great, amazing job and made all the scenes that I was in with her better, made me better. My favorite part of the movie is when she shows up and helps me out. She’s a terrific actress, and I think ‘Wonder Woman’ will be really good, and I’m excited to keep working with her.”
Gadot told the story of how she got cast in the role. “Warner Bros. wanted to audition me for something, they would not say what. I was intrigued so I did the audition. Zack was there and it went great. Two weeks later they asked me to do a camera test with Ben. I said ‘Great, what is the role?’ My agent said they would not say, but expect a call from Zack. He called me that night,” asking if she’d heard of Wonder Woman. She screen-tested with Affleck and spent a long seven weeks waiting to hear if she got the role.
“I knew right away,” Snyder admitted. “You could have told me!” Gadot chided playfully.
Gadot didn't grow up watching Lynda Carter’s “Wonder Woman” on TV, but after she was cast she saw a few episodes. “I think Lynda Carter was a magnificent Wonder Woman. Those are big shoes to fit into,” she said. “But when they cast me, Zack and everyone had a very clear vision of who Wonder Woman should be, what’s her story and how they want to tell it. All I had to do was give my input and just embody everything and be her.”
Gadot, who has a 4-year-old princess-loving daughter, Alma, is glad she’s giving her and other girls someone heroic to admire. “It’s so important for girls – and boys – to have a strong female superhero to look up to,” she said.
Long before the movie was even made, some comic book fans took the casting to task on the Internet, but it didn’t bother Gadot. “You can’t please them all. As an actress, my responsibility is not to pay too much attention to all the noise around me but to pay attention to the script and the director and to protect the character and to try to tell her story the best I can.”
Born in a small town near Tel Aviv, Gadot is now squarely in the world spotlight, experiencing a nonstop round of talk show appearances and interviews. “I’m so busy working that I have no time to sit down and relax and enjoy the ride,” she said. “I’m enjoying everything, but I think it will take me some time till I really understand what’s going on." But she isn’t complaining.
“It’s a huge honor to be the one who got the amazing opportunity to tell such an important story, and I feel very grateful. Never in my life, I never imagined, I never planned on being an actress or playing Wonder Woman,” she said. “Everything happened and I’m so grateful and happy, and I love what I do.”
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