I admit, I felt initial skepticism about the choice of Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s Batman v. Superman flick. Early buzz about her casting focused on her modeling career; I saw male friends “ironically” sharing her photos from various bikini shoots she’s done over the course of her career, along with condescending implications that Gadot had no right to the role.
In retrospect, I should have seen that for the femininity-shaming garbage that it is. After all, former model Tricia Helfer has had a fantastic career in genre fiction, from Battlestar to Mass Effect. Still, when I first saw the early photos of Gadot in her costume, I grumbled that her upper-arm strength probably wasn’t up to par. “Wonder Woman should look like she can bench press more than I can,” I justified. She should look like she can bench press Superman!
Well, based on what’s revealed in Gadot’s recent chat with Interview magazine, I’m pretty sure she could bench-press Superman. Or, at the very least, she could probably bench press me … and throw me across the room, if desired. (I wouldn’t blame her; I’ve been kind of a jerk.)
Sure, Interview front-loads the page with a photo spread of Gadot wearing beautiful lingerie pieces; that’s part of her career history, too, after all. But in the interview itself, Gadot discusses her experiences growing up in Israel, where she had to serve a mandatory two years in the Israeli army:
I was a gym trainer on one of the bases in Israel. So my boot camp was longer than other boot camps. It was four months and all about sports, waking up at 6:30 a.m. and going for a run, doing push-ups … When I did my camera test for Fast & Furious, I had a conversation with Justin Lin and he was talking about weapons, that he wants this girl to be a pro at weapons, and asked if I ever had any experience with weapons. I told him that I used them in boot camp, so I came prepared.
Gadot came under fire last year for posting in favor of the Israeli Defense Force on her Facebook; in this interview, she walks that back a bit: “It’s a very complicated situation, and I leave the politicians to do what they need to do.” Although I’m not so sure of her political leanings, I can’t deny that she has proven her ability to do tons of push-ups.
What’s more, Gadot describes her youth as one that would have allowed her to excel in a Themyscira competition of strength:
I come from a very sporty background because my mom is a gymnastics teacher … I always played ball outside in the backyard. I was a dancer for 12 years. I did tennis, basketball, volleyball, dodgeball, you name it. I was such a tomboy. I loved sports.
And here’s what Gadot had to say about stepping into Wonder Woman’s impressive boots:
I feel like I’ve been given a huge opportunity to inspire people, not only women. And not because of me but because of who Wonder Woman is and what she stands for. There’s a lot of responsibility.
The part I liked best, though, has to be Gadot’s answer when the interviewer asked her how she might respond if and when the inevitable haters appear to cut down her Wonder Woman performance.
No matter what you do, you can never please them all. People will always have something to say because that’s the way people are. And it’s okay. But for me, it’s my job. It’s my career. It’s my art. Whatever I do, I take it very seriously and I do my research and I give it my best. I just want to be able to shine and inspire people. And it’s not just about me. It’s the script and the story and the acting. I hope people are going to love it.
I’ve got to admit, her enthusiasm is charming:
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