November 19, 2018

Wonder Woman of Valor: Gal Gadot Visits Children in Hospital

Screenshot from Twitter.

Taking a break from filming Wonder Woman 1984 in Washington D.C., Gal Gadot made some young patients’ day when she visited Inova Children’s Hospital in Falls Church, Va., dressed head to toe in her Wonder Woman regalia. Gadot, the mother of two daughters ages 6 and 1, cuddled with the kids and posed for pictures.

According to Inova’s director of Child Life Services, Jamie Gentille, Gadot spent over an hour with the patients, handing out stuffed animals and toys. “This was such a treat for the children and families – she held babies, played with kids, and chatted with teens. A few of the parents cried tears of joy after seeing their child’s face light up at this magical moment,” she said.

“One patient underwent a morning full of very serious procedures, and you could see her perk up immediately when she saw Gal walk into her room,” Gentille added. “Gal was such a lovely person, and brought such beautiful energy to our halls. She has a gift of making a special connection with every child she meets.

“Visits like this do more for our patients than we ever could,” Gentille said. “For a child to have the real Wonder Woman visit them in the hospital is truly magical – they will go home and remember this amazing experience, amidst all of the pokes and procedures. This allows children to heal faster and really just back to the business of being kids and being joyful. Gal has a family for life here at ICH!”

She’s now back at work on “Wonder Woman 1984,” which reunites her with co-star Chris Pine and director Patty Jenkins, with Kristen Wiig joining the cast as the villain. It’s due for release in November 2019. Gadot has a couple of projects set up after that, including the art heist thriller “Red Notice” with Dwayne Johnson. She’ll produce but may or may not appear in “My Dearest Fidel,” about an American journalist who becomes a confidant to former Cuban dictator Castro.

The New Zionist Plants Vines, Not Trees

Adam Bellos.

Adam Bellos’ stated mission is as grandiose as his personality. “I’m here to reignite the Zionist movement,” he says, without an ounce of facetiousness.

Injecting new blood into Zionism was the impetus for The Israel Innovation Fund (TIIF), a nonprofit Bellos founded last year to highlight Israeli culture. He points to both demographics and the Jewish state’s evolving image when he asserts that North America has lost its crown to Israel as the center of the Jewish world.

“Israel is cool and sexy and holy and fun. It’s the creative state,” he says. “It’s not your bubbe’s Zionism. It’s about ‘Fauda,’ it’s about Gal Gadot. We are ‘Wonder Woman’ Zionism.”

TIIF, he’s quick to add, is composed of 60 percent women, and aside from its executive director, David Hazony, and newly appointed president, Ted Sokolsky, all of TIIF’s staff members are under 40.

Stopping short of naming names, Bellos takes a shot at the reigning kingpins of the Jewish world, charging them with being wholly out of touch with the drives and desires of young Jews.

“You’ve got these old guys in a New York office telling a 25-year-old in Israel what Zionism is when they have no idea,” he says. Rejuvenating Jewish identity isn’t about gala dinners and planting trees, says Bellos in a not-so-subtle jab at the Jewish National Fund.

“It’s not your bubbe’s Zionism. It’s about ‘Fauda,’ it’s about Gal Gadot. We are ‘Wonder Woman’ Zionism.” — Adam Bellos

TIIF’s millennial version of tree planting is its flagship project, Wine on the Vine. The online fundraising platform connects people to Israel by planting vines at select wineries, with the lion’s share of proceeds going to support Israeli charities. The organization also hosts revenue-positive parties, from Zionist-feminism soirees to wine tasting events in art galleries.

Not bad for a boy from Cincinnati who, by his own admission, wasn’t exactly an honor roll student. But there’s no love lost from Bellos for his hometown. “There’s a reason I left at 18 and never looked back,” he says.

Having always nurtured dreams of being a filmmaker, Bellos moved to Chicago to study film and theater. But a 2007 stint in a study-abroad program at Tel Aviv University turned out to be a life-altering experience that would put his Hollywood ambitions on the back burner.

“I fell in love with a girl and I fell in love with Zionism and I fell in love with Israel,” says Bellos, his face breaking into a million-watt smile.

Even when the romantic relationship fell through, Bellos knew without question that Israel would become his home. He returned to the United States to study Judaism and Middle Eastern studies at the University of Arizona before making aliyah and volunteering in the army. Two-and-a-half years later, Bellos left Jerusalem to accept a job in Ningbo, China, running a belly dance company.

After a year, Bellos returned, this time to Tel Aviv. He enrolled in a master’s degree program at Tel Aviv University, but he never quite found his place professionally. He dabbled in everything from volunteering with the city’s young, professional community to consulting for former ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren for the 2015 election, in which Oren was elected to the Knesset. Eventually, Bellos settled on playing the stock market, a venture that proved lucrative enough for him to realize his real passion of promoting Zionism.

He’s unapologetically pragmatic about the checks and balances of his ideals.

“I gotta be the guy who makes the money,” he says. “There’s so much passion out there and all these people have these great ideas, but you need money.

“Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to launch the hottest Jewish organizations in existence.”

Gal Gadot’s ‘Wonder Woman’ tops ‘Spider-Man’ as biggest non-sequel superhero movie

Gal Gadot. Photo courtesy of Clay Enos/DC Comics.

“Wonder Woman,” starring the Israeli actress Gal Gadot, has become the biggest non-sequel superhero movie ever, beating out the 2002 version of “Spider-Man.”

The movie earned $404.1 million in the United States as of Monday, and has passed $800 worldwide, with the film set to open in Japan on Friday, Forbes reported.

Forbes noted that if the film can take in another $5 million at the box office — and it is still being shown at more than 800 movie theaters in the United States — it will pass “The Hunger Games,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Iron Man 3” in earnings.

Gadot tweeted a thank you to her fans on Monday.

“Wow! Just heard the news! Thank u to everyone who has shown their support to WW in theaters!” she wrote. “What an amazing ride this has been! #grateful

The film is set to be released in the United States on DVD and Blu-ray on Sept. 19.

Warner Bros. has already begun preparing for the sequel, “Wonder Woman 2,” which is slated for release in December 2019.

Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman slated to appear in ‘Flashpoint’ film

Gal Gadot in the 2017 film “Wonder Woman.” Photo by Clay Enos/DC Comics

Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s iconic Wonder Woman character is expected to make an appearance in the upcoming movie “Flashpoint.”

“Flashpoint,” a DC Extended Universe film, and the first solo movie for the DC Comics character Flash, is scheduled to be released in 2020, Forbes columnist Mark Hughes reported over the weekend.

It will be the third DC film in which Gadot as Wonder Woman will appear. She also will be seen in the film “Justice League,” with a scheduled release this fall, and a sequel to “Wonder Woman” has already been announced for December 2019.

“Wonder Woman” was expected to break $400 million at the box office in the United States over the weekend and close in on $800 million in worldwide receipts.

Gal Gadot ranked most popular actor on social media

Gal Gadot in the 2017 film “Wonder Woman.” Photo by Clay Enos/DC Comics

Gal Gadot, the Israeli star of the film “Wonder Woman,” rose to No. 1 on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top Actors list.

Gadot moved up from No. 4 over the past two weeks in the ranking of the most popular actors on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Google Plus. The last tracking week ended June 20, according to The Hollywood Reporter; the latest list was released Saturday.

Others on the list include Dwayne Johnson, Zendaya, Priyanka Chopra, Lucy Hale, Jennifer Lopez, Kevin Hart, Lily Collins, Shay Mitchell and Mark Wahlberg.

Gadot, 32, has become an international sensation since “Wonder Woman” premiered, but she has been a household name in Israel since winning the Miss Israel pageant in 2004 at 18.

Gal Gadot’s husband went viral on Instagram because of this t-shirt

Yaron Versano, left, with Gal Gadot. Photo from Instagram

You can’t blame Gal Gadot’s husband for feeling a little protective or anxious these days. His wife, the star of the “Wonder Woman” film, is rapidly becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Yaron Versano, a 38-year-old Israeli real estate developer who has been with Gadot for over 10 years, posted a photo of himself in a humorous t-shirt alongside his wife last Thursday.

#mywife #therealwonderwoman ❤️

A post shared by JaronVarsano (@jaronvarsano) on

The image has since been liked over 109,000 times and garnered nearly 1,500 comments.

That’s likely because of the message on Versano’s shirt, which shows a generic symbol for a female above the words “Your Wife” next to a depiction of the Wonder Woman character, which is above the words “My Wife.”

Buzzfeed pointed out that the shirt is available for anyone on Amazon, although it might seem custom-made for the man who is, according to at least one commenter on his Instagram post, the “luckiest person ever.”

Wonder Woman’s other mission

Actress Gal Gadot signing autographs for fans during the “Wonder Woman” premier in Mexico City on May 27. Photo by Victor Chavez/WireImage

When I told my wife how much I liked “Wonder Woman,” she said, “I bet you did.”

Well, yes, if I have to watch someone run around in spandex for two hours, I’d rather it be Gal Gadot than, say, Michael Keaton. So sue me.

But even a woman that striking wouldn’t stand out if the rest of the movie hadn’t been so entertaining: the script, the direction, the superb score. 

That’s why I wish I could sit down Lebanon’s Ministry of Economy & Trade and tell them, Look, don’t be a shmuck.

When “Wonder Woman” came out, the Hezbollah-run Lebanese ministry banned it, on account of Gadot being Israeli.

Israelis and Jews were bound to make a big deal of Gadot’s star turn. That’s what tribes do: boast of every Jewish wrestler, Armenian astronaut, Azerbaijani chess master. But what would have been just a source of parochial pride now, thanks to Lebanon, has become an international symbol.

Here’s yet another example of how the irrational hatred of Israel in the Arab world inevitably backfires.

Gadot’s Israeliness would have been a footnote on IMDb. Now — shukran Lebanon — she is carrying the Israeli brand on a platform that eventually will reach into every movie theater, laptop, cellphone, toy store, kids meal, Halloween costume and childhood fantasy.

The fictional Wonder Woman has to rescue humanity from the Kaiser’s army. The real Gal Gadot now has an even harder task: rescuing Israel’s image whenever and wherever it is maligned unfairly.   

It’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a 32-year-old mother of two. But if she can film the re-shoots of “Wonder Woman” while five months pregnant, she can handle the BDS crowd. 

Recently, I impulse-bought a T-shirt online that was pure white but for the black outline of a round head and an eye patch. In the 1960s and ’70s, any adult in the world instantly would have recognized it as Moshe Dayan. In the days before and after the Six-Day War, he didn’t just come to represent Israel, but to reflect its best qualities of bravery, fearlessness and intelligence.

Although it’s not a role she signed up for, Gal Gadot is destined to be this generation’s Moshe Dayan. Real Israeli heroes of the military type have become far too controversial. A make-believe action hero is much safer: Gadot as the Amazon princess Diana still embodies fearlessness and brains, and reflects it back on her native country. She just doesn’t have to worry about landing in Europe and being carted off to The Hague.

What’s striking, considering how fraught the subject of Israel can be, is how fearless Gadot has been in taking it on. It was striking not just that she has been called out for being Israeli, but how Israeli she is. Most movie heroes are deracinated totems of Middle American virtues. Just try to think of a single tent-pole superhero who speaks with a Southern drawl or Spanish accent. For generations, the same has been true of all leading men and women in most movies and TV shows — they had to grind down their noses and names and polish their accents if they ever wanted to be accepted. 

But Gal is Gal. She kept her Israeli name (OK, Gadot used to be Greenstein, but the change was an Israeli, not a Hollywood, thing). And strikingly, she kept her Israeli accent. In fact, director Patty Jenkins went a step further. To make Gadot not stand out as foreign, all the other Amazons adopted variations of her accent. The ones who did it well, like Robin Wright, sound like they could be selling Dead Sea cosmetics at the local mall. 

And Gadot’s character acts Israeli. When her love interest, Steve, kowtows to his English commanders, she marches into their conference room, shouts them down, then turns to macho Steve and dresses him down for buckling to authority. Any polite American Jew who has dated an Israeli has lived that moment, minus the generals.

Until Gadot, the Israeli image was essentially macho.  The most famous Israeli woman abroad was Golda Meir, whose reputation had long faded, especially in her own country. Now Gadot comes along and fuses feminism to Israeliness — “badass and kickass and morally courageous” as Times of Israeli journalist Sarah Tuttle-Singer put it.

In the end, I wonder what will have more power to soften the hearts of Israel’s most irrational enemies: the fake heroics of the character she plays, or the more subtly heroic choices Gadot has made to embrace who she is, and to stand up for where she comes from.  


Rob Eshman is publisher and editor-in-chief of TRIBE Media Corp./Jewish Journal. Email
him at robe@jewishjournal.com. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @foodaism
and @RobEshman.

WATCH: Israelis react to Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman

 

The Jewish Journal asked movie-goers in Jerusalem for their thoughts on Israeli actress Gal Gadot, star of “Wonder Woman.” They were excited to respond.

RELATED: Gal Gadot and the Jewish essence of Wonder Woman


Harvey Stein is a filmmaker and video journalist (he made aliyah in 2006), and has made many short videos for various websites. His feature documentary “A Third Way” (about Rabbi Menachem Froman and others) came out last year, and his new feature project, “Double Selfie,” going into production later this year, is a mockumentary set in Jerusalem. He can be reached at jerusalemnewyork@gmail.com.

 

 

WONDER WOMAN *Movie Review*

Wonder Woman (2017) Gal Gadot

Over the past several months, I’ve eagerly anticipated “Wonder Woman” while simultaneously biting my nails considering the potential box office results.  A movie like this isn’t just about how much money Warner Bros. and DC Comics will make in a weekend, but about the future opportunities available for female actors and directors.  It sounds like an undue amount of pressure on a single movie–and it is, in ways with which male directors rarely contend.

At this point, the early polls–excuse me, box office–are in and “Wonder Woman” is a bona fide success.  The film’s domestic and international grosses are hovering near $220 million and director Patty Jenkins (Academy Award winner “Monster”) has earned the superlative of best opening domestically for a female director.  Gal Gadot, the Israeli actress/model previously best known in the United States for her roles in two of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise movies is now better known as Diana, princess of the Amazons.

In the midst of the fervor surrounding Jenkins, Gadot and “Wonder Woman” the question becomes is the movie actually good?  In fact, “Wonder Woman” is perhaps the best recent example of why gender doesn’t matter.  This is the quintessential superhero movie complete with ‘fish out of water’ jokes as Diana learns about the world outside her home island.  As with the other superheroes before her who are not of this planet or people, Diana’s charming naïveté is the basis for much of the movie’s humor.  Also like others before her, she gradually learns to harness her power and come into her own as illustrated through epic (and costly) battle sequences.  The challenges these heroes face speak to universal themes which know no gender.  In fact, it’s perhaps the most compelling explanation for their endurance in all artistic mediums.

For more about “Wonder Woman”, including how vertical movement is used as Diana comes into her own as a warrior, take a look below:

—>Keep in touch with the author on Twitter and Instagram @realZoeHewitt.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

Gal Gadot and the Jewish essence of Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot in the 2017 film “Wonder Woman.” Photo by Clay Enos/DC Comics

When Wonder Woman first appeared on the comic book scene in 1941, she entered as a kind of messianic figure.

She soared to life during World War II, when most of Europe was in shambles. The devastating human and economic losses of the war had taken a grave toll on the global order thanks to real-life villains Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini. And male superheroes, such as Batman and Superman, entered an existential crisis — their hypermasculinities seemed a little too simpatico with the villains of the war, even as their ignorance of the gas chambers made them irrelevant. A shattered world called out for a new superhero, someone who could elevate the genre and redeem humanity from the ashes of Auschwitz.

Enter Wonder Woman.

Sculpted from clay on the all-female island of Themyscira, Diana Prince (her civilian name) is nurtured by Aphrodite and trained as an Amazon warrior. When U.S. Army Air Corps intelligence officer Steve Trevor crashes on her island, he tells her of a world at war and she feels a duty to try to stop it.

Fast forward to 2013, when the casting of Israeli model and actress Gal Gadot in the Hollywood reboot of “Wonder Woman” — which opens in theaters on June 2 — was no less momentous than the moment of the character’s creation. Surely, this was good news for the Jews.

“So exciting!!! Can’t express how happy I am :)))),” Gadot tweeted to her followers after the announcement.

Her elation was widely shared. The editorial board of The Jerusalem Post saw fit to write about why this casting choice was so meaningful: “Israel — and the Jewish people — need heroines such as Gal Gadot,” the editors gushed. “They present a picture to the world of the beautiful, sexy Israeli, countering the all-too-pervasive negative and ugly imagery of Israel and Israelis in the international media.”

Nowadays, superheroes don’t just save the world; they apparently can save Israel’s image. Or so went The Jerusalem Post’s slightly delusional logic.

The newspaper was right to acknowledge the occasion’s significance, though for the wrong reason. The real power in casting Gadot as Wonder Woman is that it offers the moviegoing public both a real and fictive revenge fantasy. It isn’t just a triumph for women that the new savior of the world is female; it is a triumph for the Jews.

“Wonder Woman was created in and for World War II,” Glen Weldon, author of “Superman: The Unauthorized Biography” said during a 2013 interview on National Public Radio. “That was her whole shtick, fighting the Nazis.”

Indeed, Wonder Woman’s first adversaries in the comic books are the military of the Axis powers, whose defeat is her raison d’etre. Though the new Hollywood version inexplicably changes the war from World War II to World War I, fighting Hitler is in the character’s DNA — but so is tikkun olam (repairing the world).

“She was created to be something of a contradiction,” Weldon said. “She is a warrior for peace. That’s tough.”

Ha! Not if you’re Israeli.

Besides the fact that Batman and Superman were emblematic of male power at a time when male power had left half the world in ruins, they also were psychological disappointments. As popular projections of divine, supernal power, Batman and Superman fell short. Not only had their “super-ness” failed the populace of Europe, they were ill-equipped to help survivors heal. The heroic imagination required a radical champion — someone with worldly qualities, like strength, but also divine qualities, like love. Power alone was not enough to prevail; a wounded world needed heart and soul.

Psychologist, feminist and comic book writer William Moulton Marston decided to create an antidote and alternative to what he saw as the “blood-curdling masculinity” of the superhero landscape. “A male hero, at best, lacks the qualities of maternal love and tenderness which are as essential to a normal child as the breath of life,” Marston wrote in a 1944 article for The American Scholar. So along came Wonder Woman, “with all the strength of a Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman,” Marston wrote. She would be the new, epicene ideal of heroism: an amalgam of masculine might and feminine compassion.

How appropriate, then, to cast Jewish former Israel Defense Forces soldier Gal Gadot as the character originally conceived as a Nazi-crushing superheroine. Wonder Woman may not be the only superhero to take on the Nazis (see: Captain America), but it’s the first time an actor can arm such a character with real-world cultural vengeance. Gadot’s maternal grandfather was a Holocaust survivor, which binds her psychically to her avenging character. In 2009’s “Fast & Furious,” her fighting spirit was so obvious that director Justin Lin added to her character’s backstory by making her a Mossad agent. “He really liked that I was in the Israeli military and he wanted to use my knowledge of weapons,” she told the Forward in 2011.

Tender, smart and strong, Wonder Woman was designed as a feminist archetype, but her current iteration also has come to embody Israeliness. In the Jewish state, it’s a national requirement for women to kick ass. And it is specifically within the micro-society of the Israeli military that men and women are expected to contribute equally, both serving in combat roles. This norm suggests that strength, skill and weaponry are the domain of both sexes, and reinforces equality of the sexes among secular Israelis. Mixed-gender army service also contributes to a national myth in which each soldier is a potential “superhero” whose duty is to protect innocents and fight evil (i.e., terrorists) who seek the country’s destruction.

Notably, the Hollywood “Wonder Woman” is the first superhero movie in over a decade to feature a female in the title role. It is also the first time a female director (Patty Jenkins) has helmed a superhero franchise, an effort to dispel conventional wisdom that a female-centric film can’t be a blockbuster (see: “The Hunger Games”).

Although, early on, Gadot was criticized for not having the appropriate body type for Wonder Woman — she was considered too thin and too lanky to be strong, her breasts too small to exude sexuality — she put those criticisms to rest with her real-life combat resume. When still others charged that Gadot couldn’t reconcile playing a strong female character while clad in a skimpy outfit, she shot back: “I think as a feminist, you should be able to wear whatever you like!” Gadot told The New York Times.

As Gadot herself has put it, one of the defining aspects of her character is that she transcends gender. “Feminism is about equality and choice and freedom. … And the best way to show that is to show Diana as having no awareness of social roles. She has no gender boundaries. To her, everyone is equal.”

Wonder Woman doesn’t inhabit an us-versus-them universe the way her male counterparts do. Instead, she serves as that “warrior for peace” — neither provocateur, nor pacifist — but one who only uses her strength against an unambiguous enemy. At least in theory, this also is the animating force of the Israeli army. Though Wonder Woman was conceived specifically to combat Nazism, her matchless qualities have turned her into a redemptive figure for humankind. She fights only when she must, and she loves just as fiercely.

By turning her over to Gadot, Hollywood is answering historical tragedy with a touch of irony: Wonder Woman is an Israeli Jew.

“Wonder Woman” opens in theaters June 2. 

Could Gal Gadot become the biggest Israeli superstar ever?

Gal Gadot in the 2017 film “Wonder Woman.” Photo by Clay Enos/DC Comics

Try to think of the most famous Israelis in history. Not necessarily the most consequential or “important” ones — like any number of Nobel Prize winners or behind-the-scenes Middle East peace deal negotiators — but those who are most universally recognizable.

Most lists would likely include a pioneering role model (Golda Meir), a supermodel who once dated Leonardo DiCaprio (Bar Refaeli), its seeming prime minister for life (Benjamin Netanyahu), a politician with crazy hair (David Ben-Gurion), a war hero with a pirate-style eye patch (Moshe Dayan) and a virtuoso violinist (Itzhak Perlman).

Some might even mistakenly include a fictional character — Ziva David, the former Mossad agent on “NCIS,” America’s most-watched TV show, who is played by a Chilean actress.

But a new name may soon go at the very top of the list: Gal Gadot (pronounced “gahl gah-DOTE”).

The actress and model is set to star in the upcoming remake of “Wonder Woman,” a film based on the legendary DC Comics series that hits U.S. theaters June 2.

[MORE: Why casting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman really matters]

Starring in the average Hollywood superhero blockbuster instantly makes any actor an international sensation — but this isn’t your average superhero flick. “Wonder Woman,” featuring one of the few iconic female superheroes, carries the kind of symbolic weight that could turn Gadot into a global feminist torch-holder for decades to come. (That’s assuming the movie doesn’t tank, that she’ll continue to appear in sequels, and that feminists will accept a role model whose everyday outfit is essentially a one-piece bathing suit.)

For those who don’t know her yet, Gadot, 32, has long been a household name in Israel, where she has been a supermodel since winning the Miss Israel pageant at 18 in 2004. Unlike Refaeli, the famed Israeli model she is often compared to, Gadot is known, too, for carrying out her mandatory two years of military service in the Israel Defense Forces. And if you’re wondering: Yes, she is married (to Israeli real estate businessman Yaron Versano).

Gadot scored a part as an ex-Mossad agent in the fourth film of “The Fast and the Furious” franchise in 2009 — in part, she has said, because director Justin Lin was impressed with her military experience. Since then she has had a few other small roles in Hollywood films, such as “Date Night” (starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey). Her first appearance as Princess Diana of Themyscira (Wonder Woman’s real name) came in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in 2016.

Gadot, 32, shown in a scene from “Wonder Woman.” Photo by Alex Bailey/DC Comics

 

So she isn’t yet widely known outside of Israel (except maybe to a hardcore cadre of “Fast and Furious” fans), but her public profile is about to radically change. “Wonder Woman” isn’t an amazing piece of art, though it will likely satisfy fans of the other over-the-top superhero films released in the past decade or so. It is projected to perform at least as well as some of its male-centric counterparts, such as “Captain America” or “Thor,” at the U.S. box office (at least $65 million to $83 million) and should rake in hundreds of millions of dollars around the world.

Beyond the numbers, “Wonder Woman” must also bear the weight of the feminist anticipation that has been building steadily around the film for years. The hype only increased when a female director (Patty Jenkins) took over the project in 2015, making “Wonder Woman” the first female superhero film to be directed by a woman.

And Gadot is actually already well on her way to becoming embraced as a feminist icon. Last fall, she was included in a U.N. ceremony honoring the Wonder Woman character as an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls. (The United Nations soon dropped the character as an honorary ambassador after staffers there complained that the comic book superheroine was “not culturally encompassing or sensitive.”) Gadot recently proclaimed that Wonder Woman “of course” is a feminist in an Entertainment Weekly interview that is being cited across the internet. From her lack of underarm hair to the kind of shoes she wears, everything is being analyzed through a feminist lens.

It won’t hurt Gadot’s popularity that she seems to be, as the original Wonder Woman character was in the comics, sculpted from clay by a god. On screen, she has a magnetic quality — simultaneously graceful, elegant, tough, athletic and bursting with sex appeal.

How popular will Gadot become? It’s hard to say. Other recent female superhero movies have starred actresses who already were well-known, such as Jennifer Garner in “Elektra” and Halle Berry in “Catwoman.” Neither movie made much of an impact. Hollywood is also prone to reboot its most popular franchises, swapping out actors and diluting a star’s connection to a character (see Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the various Spider-Man films, and the many actors linked to Batman and Superman).

Cast member Gal Gadot poses at the premiere of “Wonder Woman” in Los Angeles on May 25. Photo by Mario Anzuoni/Reuters

 

One thing is for sure: Gadot will go down in history as a distinctly Israeli actress. Unlike Natalie Portman, an international superstar and Oscar winner who was born in Israel but left at age 2, Gadot speaks English with an Israeli accent. She talks openly about being from a small Israeli city, Rosh Haayin, and her love of the Israeli character.

“In Israel, people have chutzpah,” she said in a recent cover story in Marie Claire. “People take issue with it, but I’d rather have that than play games. Here, everyone’s like, ‘We love you; you’re so wonderful.’ I prefer to know the truth, not waste time.”

So if Gadot finds the the superstardom she seems headed for, Israel will have a new most famous face.

Who needs Wonder Woman when there’s Hillary Clinton?

I love that her superhero costume was bridal white, the eternal symbol of her gender; recalling both the fight for women’s suffrage and the institution of marriage, that for too long was the only way to lift women out of obscurity and into society.

I love that white wears ironic on her, because her marriage has both helped and hurt her. And because, when she spoke at the convention, Hillary Clinton was no man’s bride: She was a woman of history, a promise to the passionate that even if you’ve been beaten down, you can still triumph. And she dressed fittingly – fresh, luminous, new — for her wedding to our country.

I love that she began her speech as a mother, with gratitude and acknowledgment, starting with the most important person in her life — her child. I love that she’s the kind of leader who honors others for their role in her success. And that she’s the kind of person who can say of her onetime rival, President Barack Obama, “I’m better because of his friendship.” And I love that she chose to validate her latest rival, Bernie Sanders, with powerful words of promise: “You put economic and social justice issues front and center where they belong,” she said, telling his supporters, “I’ve heard you: Your cause is our cause.”

I love that despite what anyone says, she is still — by law — a wife. And she understands her complicated relationship to her complicated husband as a “conversation.” One that started in a law library 45 years ago and which, she said, has lasted “through good times that filled us with joy, and hard times that tested us.” It doesn’t get more honest or transparent than that.

I love that when the crowd cheered for her, she held her hand to her heart and that her smile was as wide as the cheers were wild.

I love that as a candidate she offers substance, experience and intelligence in abundance; that her policy positions are so studied and meticulous, I am confident that she can handle any worldly challenge and any world leader. Hillary doesn’t just say what she’ll do; she tells you how she’ll do it.

I love that when the House Select Committee grilled her during an 11-hour marathon hearing on Benghazi last October, she turned a pressure cooker into a political parley, and was so well prepared, answering question after question with wit and wisdom, she changed the hearing intended to destroy her into a prime-time presidential platform.

I love that her scandals have become meaningless to me. I don’t care that she had a private email server or that the Clinton Foundation has received donations from Gulf States, or that she earned money from Wall Street speeches. I don’t believe her commitment to public service and working class families is tempered in any way by self-interest and ambition. People are more than one thing, and I trust her moral commitment to the underserved, overlooked and ill-treated. I love how absurd it is that no matter how much measurable good she does — whether getting healthcare to children, recourse to sexual assault survivors, or support for 9/11 responders — conspiracy theories regarding her motives abound unabated by facts.

I love how she’s accused of flip-flopping positions out of political expediency when really it demonstrates her ability to change and grow and compromise. I love that her mistakes stem from her commitment to a 40-year career that has only increased in responsibility, prestige and influence. And that the people who criticize her for every little thing fail to see that her life of public service has demanded more of her as a person and citizen than most of us would ever want or allow.   

I love that she went undercover in a segregated school to study the role of race in education – 30 years ago. And that she advocated for universal healthcare a decade before Obama was even elected to the Senate.

I love that she is fiercely smart, ultra savvy, and hyper-qualified to run for president of the United States.

I love that loving her puts me into a club with Meryl Streep and Lena Dunham.

I love that when I tried to take notes during her speech, I couldn’t stop crying. Because I know what this means to my 93-year-old grandmother, who carved her own set of cracks in that stubborn ceiling. And I know what it would have meant to my mother, who worked hard and sacrificed, but knew too well the disadvantages dealt to women, to finally see her role model and idol accept the nomination for president. I cried because I know that this nomination means – for every woman in America and around the world who has been told, “No,” who has been paid less, who has been passed over, ignored, belittled, ridiculed, humiliated, raped, shoved aside, manipulated, exploited, cheated on, disbelieved and discounted – that a woman can rise to the world’s most powerful position. That the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards equal opportunity for all.

I love that a woman has what it takes to lead our country. I love that our next president might be blonde, wear mascara and drape jewels around her neck.

I love the hope, possibility and wonder Hillary’s story inspires: “When there is no ceiling, the sky is the limit.”


Danielle Berrin is a senior writer and columnist at the Jewish Journal.

Watch Gal Gadot in the Comic-Con ‘Wonder Woman’ trailer

MORE: Why casting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman really matters

How the IDF prepared Wonder Woman Gal Gadot for Hollywood

Gal Gadot’s stint in the Israeli Defense Forces might have given her the emotional and physical stamina to prepare for a Hollywood career, but the Wonder Woman star is still laboring to master the Amazon’s golden lasso–a skill not offered in boot camp.

30-year-old Gal Gadot graces the cover of Fashion Magazine’s August issue, where she discussed her upcoming role as Wonder Woman in “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” as well as her playing the role in a standalone film “Wonder Woman,” scheduled for release in 2017.

In addition to learning to use a golden lasso, she is also busy as the spokeswoman for Gucci’s Bamboo fragrance.

The former Miss Israel 2004 was a law student following her army service, and didn’t envision an acting career. She told EW that, prior to landing the “Fast & Furious” franchise, she thought, “There’s no way I’m going to go (to an audition). It’s all in English, I’m not an actress. I’m in school.”

Gadot says she enjoys playing Wonder Woman, because she likes to play tough women. “I want to do all kinds of action. I want to have gunshots. I want to fly up in the air on a motorcycle. I want to do it all by myself–no stuntwoman.”

Gadot is critical of the fact that there aren’t more roles for strong women and says one reason may be the dearth of female screenwriters. “My biggest challenge is to find more strong parts.”

Gadot told Fashion that her time in the Israeli military helped prepare her for Hollywood, and that the comments she received back home when she became Miss Israel served as ample training for the biting criticism celebrities often face.

“After they asked me, in Israel, if I have eating disorders, and why I am so skinny,” suggesting “that my head was too big and my body was like a broomstick,” the comments she has to absorb in the States are “just empty talk” in comparison.

Gadot has a three-year-old daughter, Alma, with husband Yaron Versano. She believes that every woman is a bit like Wonder Woman:

“Nowadays being a woman is hard, because we have to be the best wife, best mother, best worker, best everything.”

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Gal Gadot is new face of Gucci Fragrances

Israeli actress Gal Gadot has been selected as the new face of Gucci Fragrances.

Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman in the upcoming DC Entertainment/Warner Bros film “Batman v Superman,” made the announcement on her Facebook page.

Gadot, the 2004 Miss Israel, has been a successful model and a star on Israeli television shows. She also appeared in the “The Fast and the Furious” series of films.

Gal Gadot signs 3-picture deal to play Wonder Woman

Get ready for lots of Gal Gadot. Turns out the Israeli actress and model won’t just be playing Wonder Woman in “Batman vs. Superman,” as recently reported. She’ll be playing Wonder Woman in three movies.

Gadot revealed the news of her three-picture deal with Warner Bros. on the Israeli talk show “Good Evening With Gai Pines.” She also shared that she’s getting paid a modest $300,000 for the first of the three films, a follow-up to “Man of Steel.”

This kind of frankness when it comes to salary is unusual in Hollywood for sure. It could be she thought the information would stay in Israel, although in that case, she seriously underestimated the passionate devotion of comic book fans. The interview appeared first on Batman News (tagline: “The premier source for all things Batman”). Judging from her last chat with Gai Pines, though, Gadot is simply the type who likes to put it all out there.

“Batman vs. Superman” begins filming in May, and Gadot is quite comfortable in a bikini.

Gal Gadot on Wonder Woman casting

Gal Gadot, the Israeli supermodel recently cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming movie “Man of Steel,” opened up on an Israeli talk show about her new role.

The slender Gadot has received significant criticism from Wonder Woman fans about her physique. Some claim she is too thin and too flat-chested to properly embody the iconic superheroine.

“I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world,” she told the Israeli program ‘Good Evening with Guy Pines.’ “Breasts … anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels and everything is fine.”

Gadot also delved into her character’s backstory. In her comic book incarnation, Wonder Woman’s secret identity is Princess Diana of Themyscira, a princess of the Amazons, a fierce race of warrior women who lived near the Don River in contemporary Russia. In some iterations of the myth, Amazons cut off their right breasts in order to throw their javelins with greater accuracy — a fact Gadot picked up on in her interview.

“By the way, Wonder Woman is Amazonian, and historically accurate Amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go ‘by the book’ … it’d be problematic,” Gadot said.

She added that she plans to work out with weights in order to gain the extra muscle required for the role.