Gal Gadot is no stranger to action. Rising to fame with her iconic role as Wonder Woman in 2017, Gal has flawlessly manoeuvred her way through many an action sequence, boasting a wide roster of strong and powerful female characters – a repertoire that only continues to grow. Gal is starring as Rachel Stone in Netflix and Skydance’s upcoming Heart of Stone, an action-packed feature film that Gal also produced, set to release on Netflix this August.
“I’m a big fan of Mission Impossible and Bond movies”, Gal shares. “As a girl, I never had the opportunity to watch myself in one of those. I was always wondering if there’s room for something like that, but female driven.” And from this, Rachel Stone was born. A character that wears many hats, is as powerful and quick-witted as she is agile, yet is grounded with a very real, very human sense of empathy. A character much like Gal herself. The Israeli-born actress transitioned her acting career from Israel to Hollywood, where she demonstrated her acting chops as Wonder Woman and hasn’t slowed since. Now, Gal is an actor, producer, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and mother of three – and she’s just getting started. Talk about the ultimate Wonder Woman.
You have played a number of strong, powerful female characters in your career, from Wonder Woman and Hedy Lamarr to the upcoming Cleopatra. How important is it to you to portray these types of roles? What do you hope audiences take away from your performances?
Great question. Well, it’s funny, I guess I just got lucky, playing very strong, powerful characters. Heart of Stone was something that I always wanted to do, I always felt I was a big fan of this genre. I’m a big fan of Mission Impossible and Bond movies. And I never had the opportunity, as a girl, watching myself in one of those, you know. I was always wondering if there’s room for something like that, but female driven. And I think that I got my confidence only after Wonder Woman came out and became this huge success. That was like the thing that really proved to me that wait, why do people say that men don’t want to see women, they do want to see movies with women, if the story is good, if the action is there, if it makes sense. They’re all for it. After Wonder Woman came out, Yarron, my husband, who is also my partner, in my production company, we had a meeting with David Ellison, and we had a great time. At the end of the conversation, David asked me, So what do you want to do? What do you want to produce? And I told him, I want to produce a female driven action film, one that is exciting, global, scopey. We shook on it, and now here we are. So I’m very very grateful for the fact that we’ve had such great partners like David, Skydance, and Netflix. It’s been an incredible ride.
You are no stranger to action, and your character Rachel Stone in Heart of Stone certainly knows how to throw some powerful punches and make some epic getaways. Can you tell me about the process behind filming such intense and quick action sequences, and your favourite part about it?
I grew up being a dancer. So learning how to do the action – it’s like a dance. It’s choreography, they call it action choreography. I love it. You play with your body, you play with your brain. I really enjoy this part. It takes a village and a lot of professionals to shoot action, and to do it in the biggest, edgiest way. I was supported by the most amazing stunt team with an incredible second unit director and stunt coordinator. The team of stunt women that I work with I take everywhere with me because I couldn’t do what I do without them. I try to do as much of the action as they let me. It’s important for me to do this, because I feel like action and the performance is made not just with the choreography but also by the intention of the action. And to me, it’s so important to have both. I’m lucky to have such a wonderful team of professionals surrounding me. It’s all about the people. In everything that you do in life, no matter what field, it’s all about the people.
You are a mother of three daughters. How did becoming a mother change the way you approached life? What lessons have you learned from your children?
The biggest thing that changed in my life since I became a mother 11 years ago, was learning that it’s not just about me. I’m not the most important thing in the world. They are. And there’s something just simply healthy about the fact that it’s not all about you. It puts everything in perspective. And you love, like you’ve never loved before. They’re everything to me, I’ll do anything for them. They’ve taught me so many things. How to keep on going, even when you were so exhausted and you didn’t sleep at night and had to shoot in the morning. They taught me that I can do much more than I thought I could. I went to university to study law, but I wanted to continue becoming an actress. My husband Jaron gave me all the support to pursue any of these avenues. As long as you’re going to do what you want to do, then you’re giving your children the best example because kids learn the best not by what you tell them, but by what you model to them. And what I really wanted to do at that time was to continue becoming an actress. The more centred you are with yourself, the better of a model you are with your children.
You starred as the compassionate and heroic Diana in Wonder Woman, the calculating Sarah Black in Red Notice, and you are starring in the upcoming Evil Queen in Snow White. Do you take different approaches when playing such opposite types of characters? What types of roles do you enjoy playing the most?
I don’t have a preferred type of character. I think it was so much fun to play the Evil Queen. There was something so delicious with this part because it’s a fairy tale. It’s the first Disney villain. And because it’s a musical, I could stretch my performance and make it so much more dramatic and so much more animated, that it was just simply delightful. I enjoyed it, and I changed my voice and I did all these different things. And it was just super fun, and I can’t wait to watch it. I can’t wait to see how you know how it all turns out.
You will star as Cleopatra in the upcoming historic biopic. Is there anything you can tell us about this role and film? What kind of research did you do for this role and how did you approach it differently from your previous roles?
Israel borders Egypt, and I grew up with so many stories about Cleopatra, and she’s like a household name. You know, if Wonder Woman is the imaginary strong female leader, Cleopatra’s actually the real one. That’s a perfect example of a story that I wanted to tell because I started reading different books about Cleopatra, and I said, Wow, that’s fascinating. All I ever saw in regards to Cleopatra from film, was that she was this seductive woman who had an affair with Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony. But the truth is, there’s so much more to her. This woman was so ahead of her time. Egypt and what Egypt was back then, was still futuristic to where we are today. I can’t say much. But to me, I’m so passionate to tell her story and to bring justice to this character, and her legacy and celebrate her and her legacy. We have a beautiful script, and I cannot wait to share this story with the world and change the narrative of Cleopatra simply being a seductor.
Who is your Wonder Woman? Who do you look up to?
My mom. It’s a cliche of an answer, I know. But I have such an incredible force of a mum that raised us to be grateful. And I think that grateful people are very happy because they are always happy with what they have. So she taught us to be grateful. And to dare. She always put such good healthy seeds of confidence and self empowerment in me and my sister and she is my true wonder woman. And she is just such a good person too.
Photography: Greg Swales
Creative and Fashion Direction: Sean Kunjambu
Styling: Karla Welch
Producer: Alexey Galetskiy @AGPNYC
Makeup Artist: Jo Baker
Hair Stylist: Jenny Cho
Manicurist: Shige Taylor
Set Designer: Lucy Holt
Casting Director: Jill Demling
Digital Technician: Amanda Yanez
Gaffer Assistants: Yolanda Leaney, Sandy Rivas & Juliet Lambert
Fashion Assistants: Grace Wrightsell & Jamie Spradley
Production Assistants: Sasha Milostnova & Ivan Shentalinskiy
Set Design Assistants: Ale Garcia & Christina Cotton
EditorVogue Hong Kong