Being a superhero is a hard job, and playing one isn't any easier. Now that Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck have transformed themselves to portray comic book-sized versions of Superman and Batman - and Chris Pratt swapped fat for muscle for Guardians of the Galaxy - the bar has been set for actors looking to get into 'superhero shape.' And with Will Smith and Margot Robbie doing the same, it isn't just the heroes anymore.
But where thin actors are assumed to be put through rigorous workouts and meal plans prior to production, the casting of slender actress Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman sparked more skepticism and doubt than usual. The actress has now explained why she was more than ready to tackle the physical demands of Batman V Superman, and sheds some light on which superpowers the heroine will possess in WB's Justice League movie universe.
Gadot recently explained that criticism of her casting based on the fact that she lacks... certain attributes commonly depicted in Wonder Woman comics is something she finds "amusing," amounting to "empty talk." Leading up to Dawn of Justice production Gadot had teased the early results of her training at the hands of Gym Jones' Mark Twight - the same trainer who turned Henry Cavill into the largest take on the Man of Steel ever seen.
More recently, a photo shoot took Gadot from cinematic combat back to the gym - showing that Snyder and Twight weren't simply intending to make her as large as possible. Hopefully, that implied the time spent preparing Gadot for the role was to make her a convincing warrior (as opposed to matching a certain image). As Gadot teased in a recent interview YNetNews, she took to the training happily:
"It was very intensive. When I was young I was a real tomboy so I really enjoyed the experience. I see [my daughter] wanting to dress like a princess and put on lipstick and it surprises me. I asked my mom if I was like that too but she said all I wanted back then was to play ball, sweat, and scrape my knees."
The word 'tomboy' isn't typically associated with a former Miss Israel or professional model, but Gadot's time spent as a fitness instructor in the Israel Defense Forces proves she's more than a pretty face. The actress has often said her military service contributed to a larger role in director Justin Lin's Fast & Furious films, since stunning actresses with intimate knowledge of self defense and firearms aren't exactly common.
Given Zack Snyder's track record - Sucker Punch, 300, and Man of Steel - it's safe to assume that Gadot's Wonder Woman will be put to work once she sets foot on the battlefield. If not in Dawn of Justice, then her solo film and Justice League.
When she enters the fight alongside Batman and Superman, exactly what superpowers she'll be sporting has yet to be revealed. It remains a mystery, since comics and live-action adaptations have granted Diana god-like powers or removed them altogether, making flight possible or restricting it to her 'invisible jet.' One Dawn of Justice producer has already confirmed this version of the heroine will be the daughter of Zeus, but Gadot explains what fans should expect:
"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."
Diana's knowledge of "tons of martial arts styles" sheds some light on what Gadot's preparation for the role may have entailed, while this seems to be confirmation that Wonder Woman won't be flying in the DCMU. It's hard to say if her ability to "jump really high" means Wonder Woman will be leaping across the battle (think Incredible Hulk), but it sounds like her training will make her a clearer counterpoint to Batman, not Superman.
It's possible that Clark Kent and Diana will both be introduced as children of a paranoid attitude towards outsiders, but one raised to be a well-meaning farmboy and the other a Queen-in-the-making ensures some differences. Now, it seems more and more likely that Diana's training and authority will be what makes her potent in a fight, not the power of her magical muscles.
Though the New 52 origin story of Wonder Woman revealed her ability to fly as a gift from Hermes, it's hard to see Zack Snyder's grounded movie universe buying into the Olympian gods of ancient Greece. We've previously explained why the presence of some ancient Kryptonians could help bridge the gap, but the explanation for Diana's powers remains a mystery - perhaps even one left unsolved by the end of Dawn of Justice.
What do you think of Gal Gadot's comments about the character's superpowers? Are you disappointed to hear that she won't be able to fly at Superman's side, or is it promising to see she'll have her own fighting style in the upcoming Justice League films?
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice arrives on March 25th, 2016. Wonder Woman will be in theaters June 23, 2017.