Gal Gadot spoke to Ynet Magazine, a Israeli published magazine, in which she spoke about her audition for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, her learning about getting the role of Wonder Woman and all the criticism she has receive since her casting as Wonder Woman and much more…
The interview was translated by SHH member omermer from Hebrew to English.
Interviewer: “DO you want me to explain it to you?”
Gal: “I get it but I don’t really get it. I don’t think it’s possible to understand it while it’s happening to you. I only understand I was a beauty queen a year after it happened. I have a delay on my life. Really. I only understand what I’m doing after I’m done doing it and I think it really helps me. I look at it from a very rational point of view: I have a job, I have a project, I need to bust my ass and give it my whole and that’s it. After the movie comes out I will sit at the screening and shake like a chicken. ”
Interviewer: “So you want me to talk to you in a year from now to see whether you understood how you’re supposed to feel now?”
Gal: “Yes. In a year I’ll tell you whether I understood or not.
The Secret Audition
During the last two and a half years since her last movie (Fast & Furious), until she got the Wonder Woman role, Gadot was constantly flying between Los Angeles and Tel Aviv. Everyone told her she need to take advantage of the momentum she was in, the publicity, she need to strike while the iron is hot, work on her accent and meet producers for lunch. Gadot listed to everyone and like a disciplined soldier was living the Hollywood dream even if inside it felt like a little nightmare. In fact, her audition for Wonder Woman was a few days after she decided to book a ticket back to Israel, maybe forever.
Gal: “It was a time with a lot of ‘almost’ and read through with lead actors and it just didn’t happen. I told my husband, Yaron, ‘ I don’t know how much more I can take.’ I’ve had enough. I felt like I was dragging my family in the world and that it wasn’t working out. I’m a Taurus. I need stability, for me, for my child, for my family. I felt like I was trying too hard – and the harder you try the more it slips away – I didn’t have the energy anymore. We were in LA and I just got rejected for a part I was in eight meetings for. I told Yaron ‘ let’s just give up and stop’. And Yaron, god bless him, said ‘ stop. What will happen will happen. We are enjoying the road and we get to see the world’. A week before we left LA I got a call to get to a secret audition at Warner Bros. We already bought tickets and I wasn’t sure when I’ll be back in LA. I was in an energy-less state of mind. Then I did the audition and had a blast. It was so much fun. ”
Interviewer: “Fun? That’s what you have to say for an audition that every Hollywood actress probably tried out for?”
Gal: “I didn’t know what I was auditioning for. I did the audition and felt great. A few days later I was in Israel shooting a movie. I was glad to have a project here (in Israel). Here or there, it’s important for me to work. When I am working, I’m healthy, I’m happy, I shine. At some point I got a call from my agent and she said they want me to come for a second audition.
Interviewer: “How did you react when you understood what it was?”
Gal: “I didn’t at first, but I did 1+1 and realized what movie it was, but I didn’t know which character – not until they released more movie details – and when the director said it was Wonder Woman my jaw dropped. All the blood went to my legs and back to my head. My pulse was racing. I was really excited but I tried to find a calm vice to say ‘ Ah. Cool.’.”
Interviewer: ” Cool, clearly, obviously. The coolest.”
Gal: “You have to understand, inside I’m dancing samba but I’m trying to act like its ‘business as usual’. I was really excited when I did the second audition.”
Interviewer: “When did you consider panicking?”
Gal: “There was a very high stress level ’cause they flew me immediately. This was what I was working for. I really prepared for this and I was waiting for the part that will give me this big break. Deep inside you know that it’s now or never.”
Interviewer: “What, like to be or not to be?”
Gal: “No, Because I will be even if I will not be. But you put so much of your energy and planning and expectations to reach this moment. I don’t look down on Fast & Furious but I felt like I didn’t get my chance to shine and show my acting abilities. The tension and the stress is internal. When I met Ben Affleck It’s weird to see him face to face after watching so many of his movies. He is a great actor and director but the nerves and tension wasn’t about him it was about me. I had to find the right volume of voice and give a good performance.”
Interviewer: “But how can you? It’s almost impossible to be your best in an audition.
Gal: “When I got there they put me in a trailer and after all the hair and makeup I had to wait a few hours. Waiting is auditioners biggest enemy. I called Yaron and told him I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t calm down. He told me ‘ Gal, put on Beyonce. Move around. Don’t sit there frozen’. I put on ‘Diva’ and started dancing. Just when the song ended, I was all flushed, there was knock on the door calling me in.
Gal: “That’s the thing with me, I don’t get star struck over actors. On the other hand I just saw Shimon Peres in New York and I acted like a 12 year old girl. I think people like Peres or Hilary Clinton who are part of important decision making and part of historic moments impress me. Ben Affleck didn’t make me nervous. When I was young I really liked Madonna. I ran into her a month ago and got really excited. I told her ‘ Madonna, my Queen.’ Including a bow and everything. She looked at me like I was crazy but then we talked and she was really nice. Ben was really nice too. When we first met we talked about his movie ‘Argo’, the Middle East and our kids.”
Interviewer: ” What about the fact that before you and after you more actresses tried out for the part? More experienced actresses perhaps.”
Gal: “I’m very competitive but mostly with myself. There is something paralyzing about thinking about other people, whether they did better than you or not. It’s like playing ‘Super Mario’ and starting with full power and slowly fading out. I’m like a disciplined horse, only look at my road. I will give it the best I got and if it’s good for them they will take me and if not then it wasn’t meant to be. I will come back to Israel and shoot for Castro and do other stuff, perhaps send audition tapes and if something sticks I’ll be happy. ”
Interviewer: “When your casting was announced a lot of comic book nerd said that your body didn’t match Wonder Woman’s.”
Gal: “Don’t be shy. They said that I was too skinny and my boobs were too small.”
Interviewer: “Were you offended?”
Gal: “I’m really lucky nothing in my life was instantaneous. When I was younger I would take criticism really hard. But now it mostly amuses me. The true amazons had one boob so it won’t bother them in their archery. So it’s not going to be like real amazons. We always try to make everyone happy but we can’t.
Interviewer: “But isn’t it embarrassing that your breast size became a topic of international discussion?”
Gal: “No. After they asked me here, in Israel, if I had a eating disorders and why am I so skinny, they said my head was too big and my body was like a broomstick I can take anything. It’s just empty talk. I understand that part of what I’m doing means being exposed. And part of being exposed is being under fire (criticism). ”
Once in a lifetime.
Gal: “Before I do an audition I’m really excited and it feels like the most important thing in the world. The moment you finish and leave the micro to the macro you remember that it’s all bullshit. I’m lucky. I get to have fun and work doing what I love. When people in this profession get paranoia it impacts their soul. I didn’t find the cure for cancer. I’m an actress but most of all I want to be happy. ”
Interviewer: “Between all this you have a career to run. You are on the fast track to be a comic and action star. How important is it for you not to be taken as just an action star?”
Gal: “I will never take for granted the job I have right now. Playing Wonder Women is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I can’t describe to you how much I wanted to play this character without even knowing I wanted to play her. I met a lot of people from the industry in LA for meetings. They always asked me ‘what’s your dream role?’, and I never could define it. I always answered that I wanted to play a women that is strong and will be a source for women empowerment. I don’t want to play a damsel in distress that needs to be saved. I don’t like it when women in the movies are shown as the victims. I always thought that if I could send out a message I want to show the strong side of a woman and how she can handle tough situations.”
Interviewer: “Someone heard your prayers.”
Gal: “Yes, I get to play the strongest most empowering woman ever – Wonder Woman. I’m so grateful and I thank god every day. I want to devour it and enjoy every bite. “
Interviewer: “By the way, what are Wonder Woman’s powers?”
Gal: “She has unbelievable endurance. She is exceptionally strong. She can jump really high and practically fly. She know tons of martial arts styles. She is a strong and serious Woman.”
Interviewer: “If, god forbid, you’re in a fight will you be able to defend yourself?”
Gal: “Why will I be in a fight?”
Interviewer: “Let me ask it differently. If you and I fight…”
Gal: “I will kick your ass. I’m really strong.”
Interviewer: “You will kick my ass?”
Gal: “Yes. And if they give me a sword it won’t even be a challenge. When I was in 9th grade we were on a field trip and we played a game on the bus that you hit each other on the back of the neck really hard. Someone hit me so I hit him back so hard he cried. It’s been a few years but I’m still a worthy opponent.
Interviewer: “I don’t know if I’m more stunned that you are so sure you will beat me in a fight or scared.”
Gal: “So close your recorder and let’s check it out.”