Film director Joss Whedon dismissed Israeli actress Gal Gadot’s assertion that he once threatened to ruin her career in a widely reported clash on the set of a film, claiming her English wasn’t good enough for her to understand what he was really saying.
Gadot rejected the claim and insisted she knew exactly what he was talking about.
A Hollywood Reporter story in April last year said the two had faced off during filming for the 2017 movie “Justice League.” The report quoted sources as saying that “the biggest clash … came when Whedon pushed Gadot to record lines she didn’t like” and threatened to tank Gadot’s career.
According to that report, “a witness on the production who later spoke to investigators says that after one clash, ‘Joss was bragging that he’s had it out with Gal. He told her he’s the writer and she’s going to shut up and say the lines and he can make her look incredibly stupid in this movie.’”
Responding to the claims at the time, Gadot told Hollywood Reporter in a statement: “I had my issues with [Whedon] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner.” She also told Israel’s Channel 12 that Whedon had threatened to make her “career miserable.”
However, in a tell-all interview with New York Magazine published Monday, Whedon said that the incident was just a misunderstanding.
“English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech,” Whedon told the magazine’s Vulture culture section.
He said that once when Gadot wanted a scene cut, he responded that she would first have to tie him to a railroad track and do it over his dead body. “Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track,” he said.
Gadot flatly denied his explanation, telling the magazine in an email, “I understood perfectly.”
An actress on Whedon’s show “Angel” appeared to back up Gadot’s version, telling Vulture that when her agent had pushed for her to get a raise, Whedon called her at home and said she was “never going to work for him, or 20th Century Fox, again.”
The unnamed actress recalled that when she had first heard of Gadot’s accusations against Whedon, she thought to herself, “Wow, he’s still using that line.”
Actors from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” which Whedon created, have also accused him of workplace harassment. In the interview, Whedon finally confirmed long-standing rumors that he had affairs with some of the actresses despite being married at the time, saying he was “powerless” to resist the beautiful women he was working with. Whedon was married to Kai Cole from 1995 to 2016.
The interview also aired claims by a string of other stars Whedon has worked with over the years, alleging abusive or inappropriate behavior.
“Justice League,” which Whedon wrote, was directed by Zack Snyder, but he dropped out after the suicide of his daughter in 2016. Whedon took over and reshot many scenes. The resulting film was a box office failure. Snyder has since released his version of the film with his cuts on HBO Max.