‘Wonder Woman’ star Gal Gadot: ‘Wonder Woman deserves to have an origin story’
Gal Gadot doesn’t know why it’s taken this long for Wonder Woman’s story to make it to the big screen — she’s just happy it’s finally happening.
“I love everything that this character stands for,” Gadot says enthusiastically down the line from Los Angeles. “She’s all about truth and love and equality and compassion. Those are values that I feel that all of us need to reconnect to and I’m so happy that I’m the one that gets to be telling her story.”
Wonder Woman is the fourth movie in DC’s Expanded Cinematic Universe following 2013’s Man of Steel and last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
It’s also a watershed moment in the genre.
The Patty Jenkins-directed thrill ride marks the first true female-centric superhero movie in over a decade and comes two years before Marvel will release its Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel.
“I hope it’s a film that satisfies on every level,” Jenkins says in a separate phone interview. “That’s what I’m aiming for. I want something that’s a great journey, that makes you fall in love with Wonder Woman, that has a good love story and is thrilling and exciting. I’m hoping that it hits a lot of different marks.”
Many actresses were considered for the coveted part, but Jenkins says that none was more perfect than Gadot.
“She still has this incredibly bright and pure joy of life,” says Jenkins, who directed Charlize Theron in 2003’s Oscar-winning Monster. “Every attribute that one wants and needs from Wonder Woman comes so naturally and easily to Gal because it’s authentic to who she really is. She’s supernaturally beautiful and unbelievably kind and thoughtful and intelligent and wise, yet bright and youthful and hopeful. All in such a sweet way.”
Gadot’s Wonder Woman was first introduced in Dawn of Justice and she’ll be seen again later this year in director Zack Snyder’s Justice League. But the backstory of Princess Diana — how she was created from clay by Zeus, grew up on a man-free island and is gifted with super strength, a lasso of truth, bracelets of submission, an indestructible shield and a God-killing sword — is something that has never been attempted on the big screen.
Telling her origin story was necessary to Gadot.
“I think it is very important,” Gadot says. “Her origin story was never told (in Dawn of Justice), so the character didn’t really establish her history. Every superhero we know, whether it’s Superman or Batman or Spider-Man or whoever it is, they all have their origin story and we always understand where they’re coming from and what made them become who they really are.”
Set during the First World War, the film traces her upbringing on the all-female island Themyscira to the beginnings of the hero we know she’ll become after Steve Trevor, an American spy played by Chris Pine, crash lands near her home with news of a horrific battle being fought by mankind.
Wonder Woman thinks Ares — the God of War — is responsible and follows Trevor to Europe to find and kill him.
“I went into it asking, ‘What is the potential that we have with Wonder Woman? How can we make this different and exciting?’” Jenkins says. “I loved [Richard Donner’s] Superman and classic cinema. There’s something about the earnestness and the grandiosity of that approach that I don’t feel is something I’ve been seeing recently.”
As a result, the film has its own tone and storyline that stands apart from Snyder’s Justice League and its inevitable sequel.
“As long as Zack and I both understood the trajectory of where Wonder Woman goes and it makes sense in her future in his films, then I was free to tell whatever story I wanted,” Jenkins says.
“Being so iconic, I think Wonder Woman definitely deserved to have an origin story,” Gadot explains. “I’m happy that we got to explore it.”
With Wonder Woman being a big pillar in the DC Expanded Cinematic Universe (Jenkins already has an idea in place for the sequel set in America), Gadot spoke exclusively to the Sun about the pressures of entering the DCEU, the emotional journey of being the first to tell the 76-year-old character’s story and why Patty Jenkins was the right director for the job.
There were previous attempts to bring Wonder Woman to the big screen that didn’t happen for one reason or another. We’ve had several different Batmans and Supermans, why did it take so long for Princess Diana to get her own solo film?
I have no idea, but it’s really exciting that we finally get to tell her origin story and bring her to the big screen and expand her story.
So far the DCEU has selected a diverse roster of directors for its films. What made Patty a good choice for Wonder Woman?
Oh my God, everything. Patty came on board and she was always very passionate about Wonder Woman. She had a very clear vision of who the Wonder Woman was that she wanted to see. But other than that, she is such a magnificent, talented, unique person. She knows how to create intimacy with the actors she is working with and she trusts them. Through the entire process I felt she was always there with me even though I was at the other end of the camera. We did this together, shoulder-to-shoulder. I love her as a person. She’s amazing. I feel like I’m the luckiest actress that I got to work with such a phenomenal director like her.
What was it like joining the DC movie machine?
It’s crazy because when I work it’s always really important for me to do the best job that I can. But in this case, it was even more important because so many people care so much for this character. You got to respect that and you have to respect the legacy that this character has. But at the same time, I had to focus on my responsibility, which was to help tell the story in the most interesting and original way and authentic way that I could and give it my 100% effort.
Were you surprised by how much people fell in love with Wonder Woman after Dawn of Justice?
I was very touched and grateful for the way people received me.
Chris described this as having a Casablanca feel and Patty said she was really going for the Chris Reeve Superman feel. How would you describe the movie?
We all felt the tone of the movie was similar to Casablanca and the Christopher Reeve Superman. But I think what Chris said is very true. The story has a lot of Casablanca-type moments to it and I think that it has a lot of heart and romance to it.
As much as Wonder Woman is a story of self-discovery, it’s a love story and it has a big beating heart. All the action in the film has a purpose. Was it important to you that it wasn’t packed with wall-to-wall action?
Definitely, and I think for Patty as well. It was important for her that as much as this is a superhero movie, with action and spectacle, it’s really critical to show the heart of the character and to have a very specific emotional tone to it. For me, it was really crucial that everyone would be able to relate to Wonder Woman because at the end of the day she’s a Goddess and how can we relate to such a thing. But I think once we showed her imperfection and you see that she’s a powerful warrior who can be vulnerable and confused, the audience will see she’s a multifaceted character. And the fact that she’s not afraid to show her flaws is what makes her so special.
Wonder Woman will be back on the screen later this year in Justice League. What kind of experience can fans expect from that?
[Laughs] I can’t share much, but we had a lot of fun shooting it. We have a big ensemble cast, but I can’t tell you much about it — yet. Stay tuned.