SAN DIEGO — Superstar Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot is used to being away from home for long periods of time, but that doesn’t stop her missing her mother, who she says played a major role in her development.
Wonder Woman, the iconic comic book superheroine she is now playing, doesn’t hold a candle to Gadot’s first female role model, her ima, she told the room, slipping into Hebrew.
“She really gave me and my sister everything that made us who we are today. The key thing is endless love, but she always made us feel like we were the best and she always made us believe in ourselves and follow our dreams and work hard. So this one is for my ima,” said Gadot.
“This one” is her role as Wonder Woman in the upcoming blockbuster “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” in which she stars alongside Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.
The 30-year-old Gadot appeared to be deeply touched on Saturday when she was unexpectedly asked a question in her mother tongue at a panel discussion during the world’s biggest sci-fi, fantasy and pop culture convention.
There I was, little Gal from Israel, becoming Wonder Woman
She made an emotional appearance at San Diego Comic-Con International, where she discussed her homeland and family during the panel, organized by Entertainment Weekly, entitled “Women Who Kick Ass.”
Attended by a 6,000-strong crowd of genre fans, the convention’s “Kick Ass” panel saw Gadot take the stage alongside actresses Kathy Bates (“Titanic”), Gwendoline Christie (“Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars”), Hayley Atwell (“Agent Carter”) and Jenna Coleman (“Dr. Who”).
Gadot has played more than one ass-kicking character — first in “The Fast and the Furious” franchise and now in “Batman v Superman” — but she showed a softer side here, and was almost brought to tears during the Q&A portion of the panel by the fan’s question in Hebrew.
The young man, who didn’t give his name, wore a Buffy the Vampire Slayer T-shirt. As he approached the microphone, he complimented all the actresses on stage, but explained his question was only for Gal, prompting her to commend him for the “nice pronunciation” of her name.
Encouraged, he launched into Hebrew, leaving moderator Sara Vilkomerson and the rest of the panel – not to mention the thousands of other fans in the hall – baffled. Gadot, however, was delighted, replying in Hebrew that she was “moved” someone had just spoken in her native language, before asking him to repeat his question in English for the benefit of everyone else.
“I said that I think that Gal made the biggest journey. I mean, no offense to you ladies,” the man told the other four actresses, “but we have a very small country and to break out of it is exponentially harder. So I wanted her to tell us a little bit about that journey.”
“I really believe now that it doesn’t matter where you come from and how small the country you’re coming from is,” Gadot answered with passion. “As long as you aspire big, as long as you dream, and you aim high — all the clichés are right, really. If you’re persistent and if you’re good and if you’re trying your best and being proactive.”
‘I really believe now that it doesn’t matter where you come from and how small the country you’re coming from is’
“I’ve been doing this for eight years and [this role] is the biggest thing for me. I really feel it’s a combination of being prepared, having the opportunity, a lot of luck, and having all of these elements together at the right moment. I’m very grateful and I do think that everyone can achieve their dreams,” she finished, before adding in Hebrew to the fan who asked the question: “Toda lecha, motek” — thanks, sweetie.
Earlier in the panel, Gadot revealed that she had no idea what role she was auditioning for at the beginning of the casting process for “Batman v Superman,” which will represent the first time Wonder Woman appears on the big screen.
“Two years ago I was in Los Angeles and they told me Warner Brothers wanted to audition me for something — I didn’t know what it was,” she explained. “I did an audition, got back to Israel and then Zack Snyder — the fabulous director — called me and he was like, ‘Well, we’re going to need to see you for a camera test. Do you know what you’re testing for?’ And I said no and he said, ’Do you have Wonder Woman in Israel?’
“My jaw dropped. I was dead for a second and then I came back to life and I tried to put on my best cool voice and I was like, ‘Yeah, of course’ and that was it!”
Gadot also recalled the moment she first tried on the iconic costume, just three days after she won the part, saying it felt like “an out of body experience because there I was, little Gal from Israel, becoming Wonder Woman.”
Gadot appears in the August edition of Vanity Fair under the headline “Meet Gal Gadot, Our New Wonder Woman.”
The magazine mentioned that besides appearing as Wonder Woman in next year’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” the “willowy beauty” is set to appear in two more upcoming films—the thrillers “Criminal” and “Triple Nine,” both scheduled for 2016.