Gal Gadot on the power of ‘Wonder Woman’

by Kelli Hill

“Wonder Woman” has broken records in its opening weekend, bringing in over $100 million at the domestic box office. The most famous female superhero, who made her comic book debut in 1941, has been waiting for her close up in a feature film for over 75 years. Gal Gadot, the 32-year-old Israeli actress who stars as the iconic role, met Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric at Midtown Comics in New York City to discuss “Wonder Woman,” feminism, and growing up in Israel.

Gadot was traveling from Tel Aviv to Los Angeles when her agent called to let her know she had gotten the coveted part of Wonder Woman. “I opened my phone and I saw so many missed calls from my agent,” she said. “They told me, ‘Well, you’re Wonder Woman. You’ve got the part.’ And I started screaming.”

That excitement lasted three years and, now, people are finally getting to see her on the big screen. “Wonder Woman is the most powerful warrior ever, and power and strength are qualities that usually go hand in hand with men, and not with women,” Gadot commented. “And we realized that for us it’s so important to keep all of the feminine qualities … like love, and compassion, and warmth, and kindness. And I think that once you have all of these beautiful qualities and you combine it with the strength and the power, you get a beautiful, inspiring character.”

Wonder Woman was created for DC Comics in 1941 by Dr. William Marston. The female superhero was developed as a response to critics of comic books who said the characters were too violent. Marston based the Wonder Woman on the emerging feminist ideals of the time, showing the strength and power of women while also keeping their allure and beauty in mind.

“For me feminism is all about equality and freedom and choice,” Gadot told Couric. “And I think that Wonder Woman is the biggest, most iconic feminist character ever.”

Gadot grew up in Israel, served in the Israeli Defense Force and was studying law before she decided in 2007 to explore an acting career. When asked how her Israeli upbringing has shaped her, Gadot sounded like a real-life Wonder Woman. “My grandfather was born in Czech Republic, and he’s a Holocaust survivor, “ she said.” “And after everything that he’s been through — and he lost his entire family, [has] seen the horrors — he always taught me that no matter how dark it gets, always do good. And if you do good to the world there’s this, you know, karma and energy that will follow you.”

Gadot has had a great career so far, and she hopes comic book fans will embrace the story of Wonder Woman as much as she did playing the role. “You do feel the pressure because so many people care so much for this character,” she said. “I focus on my mission which is, you know, to tell her story in the most interesting way, and that’s what I do. And I’m just hoping that they’re gonna like it. And I think that the Wonder Woman story is not just for women or girls. She has such a beautiful universal story, period. So everyone can relate to it.”