If the expectations and pressures of casting female superheroes are slightly higher than their male counterparts at present, then a character like Wonder Woman looms even larger. It was for that reason that a live-action version took so long to make it to the big screen - but the time has almost come. She may be debuting alongside other Justice League heroes, but with Batman V Superman, actress Gal Gadot will give a new generation their very own version of Princess Diana.
Yet Gadot's casting was met with some mixed reactions, which seemed due to the fact that she wasn't known for her musclebound frame. The actress teased her increasing fitness regime months ago, but has offered a more recent update on how she - like her DC Comics colleagues - is slowly molding herself into her superhero counterpart.
While modelling Castro Active Clothing (via CBM), Gadot showed that she's added some muscle, giving a clearer picture of the long and lean Amazonian demigod fans can look forward to seeing on film.
Take a look for yourselves:
There will obviously be some who insist that Wonder Woman should fall closer to a female bodybuilder or MMA fighter (akin to the fitness plans for Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck); a stance that we've warned is somewhat of a departure from the comic book source material. However, this seems as good a time as any to dispel some commonly held assumptions about actors, fitness, physique, and filming techniques - all of which will help shed some light on why a 'fit' Wonder Woman means something different from her on-screen partners.
Since movie fans (ourselves included) aren't privy to personal trainers, or blockbuster budgets fueling our physical transformations, it's tempting to think that actors are actually expected to pack on every muscle seen on film, and work off every ounce of fat. But actors' bodies, just like their on-screen antics, are reliant on some serious movie magic.
It's for this reason that actors will talk at length about the grueling workouts leading up to shirtless scenes (though most viewers wouldn't realize that they'd require any special treatment), showing the stars of Thor, Captain America, or Man of Steel bigger and more muscled than at any other time in the film. Similarly, Hugh Jackman will discuss the horrible headaches caused by dehydrating himself before his shirtless scenes in The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
For the rest of the film, the heroes can sport clothing and the audience will still believe what exists beneath it, not wondering if the contours of Superman's suit are falsely accentuated (spoiler: they are). Yet for Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman costume, such a trick isn't possible - she shows skin for every in-costume sequence. Therefore, it makes sense that Gadot has spent her time rock-climbing (working to be strong, instead of just look it).
Director Zack Snyder has explained in the past that part of the reason for putting his actors through intense fitness training is changing the way they act, not the way they look. Since we've assumed for some time that Gal Gadot's more physical scenes will wait for Justice League and her own solo film, there are months left for her to be sculpted into whatever image she and Snyder have in mind for the role.
Considering that Diana will apparently be introduced as the daughter of Zeus, bulging biceps won't be needed to explain why her upbringing of combat has made her a lethal fighter. And as we've mentioned time and again, getting actors to look right is much, much easier than getting the rest of the film right. Case in point: DC and WB are apparently working on multiple Wonder Woman scripts just to cover their bases.
What do you think of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman? Has the passing time and wealth of talent bringing the Justice League universe to life lessened the pressure or expectations? Or do you still have concerns? Sound off in the comments.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives on March 25th, 2016. Wonder Woman will be in theaters June 23, 2017.
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