First came the news that the Dark Knight would be crashing Superman’s party in Batman vs. Superman, director Zack Snyder’s sequel to Man of Steel. That shock only subsided once it was revealed that Ben Affleck would be next to wear the Batman cowl. And before fans had time to process that revelation, word surfaced that Wonder Woman wouldn’t be far behind.
Now the suspense of casting has come to an end, with Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder confirming that it will be Israeli-born actress Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious) bringing the Amazonian princess to life onscreen. And right on cue, fans and online commenters made their voices heard – showing (intentionally or not) exactly why the world needs Wonder Woman more than ever.
There’s no denying the fact that this casting took many by surprise; even though Gadot’s name popped up as a rumored frontrunner in recent weeks (alongside Olga Kurylenko), the iconic nature of the character – and Snyder’s decision to cast Affleck as Batman – led many to believe that a more established actress would land the part. But we believe that a closer look at Gadot’s history proves: she may have what it takes to do Diana justice.
She Has The Experience
Since Gadot is most well-known for her role of ‘Gisele Harabo’ in the Fast & Furious series of films, audiences can’t be blamed for being somewhat unfamiliar with her full body of work. Beginning her career in front of the camera not as an actress, but a professional model, Gadot went on to claim the title of Miss Israel 2004 at the age of 19. In other words: she has the looks and presence to hold an audience’s attention – and a discriminating one at that – for more than her looks alone.
A lesser-known fact is that Gadot’s Israeli upbringing also gives her a unique advantage over many model-turned-actresses, having completed the mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) demanded of every Israeli citizen. Besides equipping her with firsthand combat training, Gadot spent her two-year term acting as a sports trainer, so her athleticism and physicality aren’t in question.
With that in mind, it was no surprise to see director Dan Trachtenberg – currently developing his adaptation of Y: The Last Man for Warner Bros., centering largely on a female IDF agent – was quick to give his nod of approval via Twitter:
I had a meeting with Gal Gadot where she explained she didn't want to just be an actress- but an ACTION STAR. Loves physicality. Good choice— Dan Trachtenberg (@DannyTRS) December 4, 2013
So that makes two directors known for their comic book geekery who seem to think that Gadot may be an unconventional, but inspired choice to bring to life a woman raised by the sword, and expected to leap into battle without hesitation. And although the title of ‘former model’ may not carry with it any serious credibility in the realm of stunt performances, Gadot endured much more than the make-up trailer in her Fast & Furious appearances.
In an interview with RealStyle, Gadot explained what drew her to the character of Fast & Furious‘ ‘Gisele':
“After we finished Fast Five I told Justin Lin, the director, that if he wants me to do Fast six, I want to be able to do more stunts. All of the stunts on Fast Five and six, I have done myself and on Fast 6 we went crazy with the action moves. The adrenaline was just incredible and I enjoyed being able to do the stuff that in real life you can’t.”
It’s obviously too early to tell how Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer’s take on Wonder Woman will differ from those previously seen on film or the comic book page, but ask any fan of the character, and they’re likely to tell you that any adaptation of the world’s top superheroine is long overdue – so long as it’s respectful.
And if Snyder proved nothing else with Man of Steel, it’s that he takes DC Comics’ most famous heroes very, very seriously. Which means that whatever take on Diana he’s after, it’s unlikely that audiences will be seeing any spandex uniforms in Gadot’s future.