Gal Gadot Lovers

Wonder Woman Gal Gadot on strength, laughs and bisexuality

Wonder Woman Gal Gadot on strength, laughs and bisexuality

Hollywood has always been well stocked with model-turned-actors, but few have the ferocious physical fitness or smarts of former Miss Israel and Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot.

Growing up “very Jewish” in suburban Tel Aviv, the teenaged Gadot was tall, sporty and strong. “My mother was a PE teacher so I grew up playing volleyball, tennis, basketball … I was a high jumper,” she says. “I was very, very active. I danced for 12 years – ballet, hip-hop and jazz – I thought I might be a choreographer. I never planned on being an actress. Life just happened that way.”

Wonder Women

At 18, Gadot entered and won the Miss Israel 2004 pageant and got her first taste of modelling in Milan before going into the Israeli Defence Force, for two years of compulsory military service.

“I was a combat instructor,” says Gadot (pronounced with a hard “t”). “I was never on the field doing anything dangerous or with weapons. I was in the gym training soldiers and keeping them in shape. I did that for two years. I did learn to use a weapon in boot camp. But I was never in a situation where I had to use one.”

Gal Gadot: "She doesn't pay too much attention to gender ... Because of that, she can fall in love with a woman. It is not something we explored but maybe in the future, who knows?"
Gal Gadot: “She doesn’t pay too much attention to gender … Because of that, she can fall in love with a woman. It is not something we explored but maybe in the future, who knows?”

After her service, Gadot studied international law before reluctantly agreeing to audition for a James Bond film. She didn’t get it. But she did land the role of Gisele in the Fast & Furious franchise. She then convinced director Justin Lin to give Gisele more stunt sequences, which Gadot performed herself.

Now, Gadot, 31, is Hollywood’s hottest female action star. She has three films in the can playing the DC comic book superhero Wonder Woman: in Batman vs Superman, released earlier this year, and next year’s Wonder Woman and Justice League.

This month she is appearing in her first comedy, Keeping up with the Joneses, in which she plays a super sexy spy adept at two-handed gunplay while hanging from a car speeding in reverse. It seems for Gadot, there is no getting away from the skin-tight outfits, explosions, car crashes and guns concealed in private places.

“I think directors like to cast me because of my fitness and my physical abilities,” Gadot says. “But it was so great to make a comedy. I’ve been shooting so many action films, and serious drama, I just wanted to do something lighter and funnier. I like it when people don’t take themselves too seriously and do silly things. I have a goofy sense of humour.”

Gal Gadot with Jon Hamm in the comedy, <i>Keeping up with the Joneses</i>.
Gal Gadot with Jon Hamm in the comedy, Keeping up with the Joneses.

Most of the humour in Keeping up with the Joneses is in the capable hands of Isla Fisher and Zach Galifianakis. They play an ordinary suburban couple who suspect something is not quite normal about their stylish and well-travelled new neighbours, Natalie and Tim Jones (Gadot and Mad Men star Jon Hamm).

Gadot is the “straight” character in the comedy, though she has one comic scene in which she threatens to blowtorch a man’s scrotum. “I want to shoot the guy’s balls!” she laughs. “Natalie has a very problematic temper, to say the least.”

Female action star: Gal Gadot.
Female action star: Gal Gadot.CREDIT:VERA ANDERSON

On set, Gadot developed a close friendship with Fisher, who had given birth to her third child six weeks before filming began. “I love Isla. She is such an amazing woman. She had her baby Monty [with her] on the set and she was breastfeeding him and was being the perfect actress and co-star at the same time. She is brilliant and so funny and warm. I really like her.”

Gadot is married to businessman Jaron Varsano and the Tel Aviv-based couple have a four-year-old daughter, Alma. Gadot’s parents – a gym teacher and an engineer – were both born in Israel to Holocaust survivors on her mother’s side. She has one younger sister “I was brought up in a very lovely, naive neighbourhood,” Gadot says. “We didn’t have cell phones. You would go in the afternoon to see friends, you’d just walk to their house and knock on the door and ask for a play date. We were all very active as kids. I never wanted to be an actress but ever since my first experience of this world of acting I realised that that’s what I want to pursue and do with my life.”

For her upcoming blockbuster movie Wonder Woman, Gadot, who was already rail-thin (some DC comic fans argue “too thin”; as in not buxom enough) packed on the muscle mass training day and night with swordplay, kickboxing, capoeira, horse riding and jiu-jitsu.

Gadot recently dismissed the fanboy commentary on her breast size on a Hebrew-language entertainment show. “I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world,” she said. “Breasts? Anyone can buy for 9000 shekels and everything is fine. By the way, Wonder Woman is Amazonian, and historically accurate Amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really gone ‘by the book’… it’d be problematic.”

Two weeks ago, Wonder Woman comic writer Greg Rucka started another social media storm after he confirmed in an interview with Comicosity what was long suspected – that Wonder Woman is bisexual. “When you start to think about giving the concept of Themyscira [the island where Wonder Woman and the Amazons live without men] its due, the answer is, ‘How can they not all be in same sex relationships?’ Right? It makes no logical sense otherwise,” Rucka said. “But an Amazon doesn’t look at another Amazon and say, ‘You’re gay.’ They don’t. The concept doesn’t exist. Now, are we saying Diana has been in love and had relationships with other women? As Nicola [Scott, the Sydney artist who draws the character] and I approach it, the answer is obviously yes.”

He told the haters to, “get over it”.

When asked if her portrayal of Wonder Woman in the film includes her bisexuality, Gadot gives an open-minded answer. “This was not in my interpretation,” she says. “In the movie, she falls in love with a man. But to be honest, Wonder Woman is all about love. She doesn’t pay too much attention to gender, and that is what is so special about her. She sees people as equal. Because of that, she can fall in love with a woman. It is not something we explored but maybe in the future, who knows?”

Wonder Woman’s journey to the big screen has been a long one. Writer-director Ivan Reitman (GhostbustersKindergarten Cop) was attached to a movie project back in 1996. Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Avengers films) wrote a script in the mid-noughties but the project foundered. Sandra Bullock was one of the names being considered for the role. Producer Joel Silver (The MatrixSherlock Holmes) told film site Collider that Whedon’s was a great script but the studio didn’t want it. “He was supposed to direct it, but they just didn’t see it and they didn’t want to do it … and it went back into the DC Comics world. They don’t always happen the way you want them to. That’s just the process of movie-making.”

Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, and the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters) and the Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn (BronsonDrive) have had hats in the ring since. Refn wanted to cast Mad Men star Christina Hendricks as Wonder Woman.

More recently, the studios have begun to recognise the need to diversify their characters beyond their respective stables of young white male characters and appeal to a female audience hungry for greater representation in the comic book universe.

Gadot says she worked with Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins for months before filming in London. “Wonder Woman was wow,” she laughs. “Like with capital letters on both Ws of wow. It was very intense and demanding preparation. I did all kinds of physical workouts and stunt work just to feel like a true warrior and when Patty and I dove into the script we had so many amazing conversations about who Diana [Prince, aka Wonder Woman] really is, and what she stands for.

“She has the most amazing agenda, which is love. Wonder Woman stands for love and peace and compassion and justice. If each of us had a little bit of Wonder Woman in us the world would be a better place. No joke. It sounds cheesy but she is such a unique character and I am so lucky to portray her. This is definitely about time we should tell her story.”

Keeping up with the Joneses is in cinemas now. Wonder Woman and Justice League are released in Australia in mid-2017.

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