From the moment it was announced, Wonder Woman was perceived by many people to be a major risk. Sure, it was a film about the most famous female superhero on the planet, but it was a long time coming, it starred a relatively unknown actress, and it was being made by a director (Patty Jenkins) who'd never tackled a blockbuster on this scale. Even after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Gal Gadot's stunning turn as Wonder Woman in that film, there were skeptics.
In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, even Gadot admits that she was a little daunted by the task at first, describing approaching the film as something similar to looking up at a mountain she's now being forced to climb. Wonder Woman (whom our Fangrrls crew named 2017's "Shero Of The Year") is a massive figure in pop culture, and Gadot was being asked not just to play her in a supporting role, but to carry her first movie. She got a positive reception from Dawn of Justice, and she had faith in Jenkins, but then came the moment of truth: seeing the first reactions to the film after its premiere.
Gadot described the moment she first started seeing reviews for Wonder Woman, which involved her young daughter refusing to sleep and an emotional phone call with Jenkins.
"It was a Thursday evening and I knew they were lifting the embargo for the reviews at 9 p.m. It was my first time going through such a thing," she told EW, noting that she isn't usually plugged into when studios lift their review embargoes, and she ended up just trying to put her daughter to bed that night — without much success.
"I said, 'Okay. I’m going to bring my computer and sit next to you until you fall asleep.' So I bring my computer and I start to read all the reviews. I got so excited I called Patty. And the moment I called Patty she answered the phone — it didn’t even ring. She immediately picks up. She’s all, 'What’s going on? I’ve been meditating for 20 minutes, not reading anything, literally waiting for you to call me.' I was just screaming: 'Ahhhhh!' She said, 'It’s good? It’s good?' I said, 'It’s unbelievably amazing! I can’t believe this is happening to us right now!'"
She ended up sharing that excitement with her daughter, too. "I told her: 'People are liking the movie. See, if you work hard enough and you have good intentions, sometimes in life people appreciate it.'"
Whether they'll admit it now or not, many people doubted Wonder Woman, unsure if a superhero film led by a woman could ever climb to such heights. Gadot and Jenkins and their cast and crew climbed that mountain, and delivered the most successful superhero film of 2017. Of course, not everyone was so impressed, from angry fanboys on the internet to Oscar-winning director James Cameron, who called the film a "step backwards" for female heroes on the big screen. When asked about Cameron's comments, Gadot said her preference was to basically ignore them.
"Because I didn’t want to give him the stage," she said, noting however, that she was a "big fan of his work" and she's "got nothing but great things to say about the creative and professional side of his work."
"When it happened, the timing of when it happened, he was promoting another movie of his," she notes. "It was like he was looking for publicity and I just didn’t want to give him the stage."
Regardless of what Cameron or anyone on the internet thought, Gadot basically won 2017. Wonder Woman is an undeniable hit, she was brought to the forefront of Justice League, and now she's not only a movie star, but an icon and role model. And she's far from done: Gadot, along with Jenkins, is set to bring the Amazon warrior back for a Wonder Woman sequel in 2019.