Gal Gadot and Wonder Woman
By now I’m sure that you have all heard the news. Actress Gal Gadot has been cast as Wonder Woman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel movie. To use the big cliche going around the interwebs, the movie still does not have an official title. It is being referred to as both Man of Steel 2 and Batman vs Superman. Complicating that somewhat is the fact that we know Wonder Woman is going to be in the movie in some capacity and there are rumours going about that we might see Batman’s protege Nightwing in the movie as well, and that there might even be Doomsday, the big bad alien bio-construct who killed Superman in one of the most popular comic events of all times. So there’s a lot to handle.
But the focus of this editorial is the casting of Gal Gadot as the iconic Amazon Princess, who is the most recognisable and most popular female comics hero in the world, despite her 71 year history in the medium. She’s the only female comics hero that I know of who has sustained her own solo title for high triple digits, something like around 650 issues or so, not to mention all the other titles she’s been a part of, or the fact that together with Batman and Superman, she forms DC’s Trinity, the three most important and central properties the publisher and its parent company Warner Bros. owns.
Earlier this summer, I wrote a piece about my casting for a probably DC Cinematic Universe, something that could rival what Marvel has been doing for some 8-9 years now. You can read it here: Justice League: Strange Union. In the article, I offered up no less than five casting decisions, and even gave the barebones for a probably movie plot that could tie the movie to the other DC movies. Since then, there have obviously been news bits that have countered my suggestions. The first was that actor/producer Ben Affleck was going to play Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel 2 and that his Batman would be an older, more experienced character than Henry Cavill’s Superman. We also heard that WB wants to do a Flash movie. And then just this past week we heard that the studio had finally cast Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
I’ll be honest. Gal is not my first pick for the role. The five actresses that I picked have done roles that are more action-oriented than anything that Gal has done, but again, that doesn’t exactly rule her out of the running. She has starred in the recent Fast and Furious movies and she’s done some other work, both for movies and for television, so while she may not have an extensive CV, its not like she’s totally new. Her being cast in this role is no different than either Brandon Routh or Henry Cavill being cast as Superman.
In recent months, calls for Wonder Woman to get her own show and/or own her own movie have risen beyond count. And they are all justified. She is far too iconic. WB has tried to get a movie off the ground for quite a while now but they have been successful. A show has been put into production several times but it keeps getting stalled. The excuses and reasons all come down to something really depressing: that an icon like Wonder Woman needs just the right actress, just the right story, just the right kind of everything. In short, things need to be perfect for Wonder Woman to get her own modern live-action outing.
In a world where Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Spider-Man, Hulk, Punisher, etc can get redone again and again, there is absolutely no reason why a Wonder Woman outing needs to be perfect. A lot of Hollywood execs misguidedly proclaim that female-led movies, especially superhero-style movies, just don’t work. They cite the failures of movies like Elektra and Sucker Punch. None of them consider that movies like The Hunger Games, Resident Evil, Brave, Tangled, Frozen, Catching Fire etc have done well at the box office. They don’t consider that there are actually increasing calls for more female-led movies, superhero movies. They ignore the fact that characters like Lois Lane, Black Widow, Pepper Potts and many others are emerging as the best and most popular elements of their movies.
But Hollywood execs continue to peddle the misbelief that these movies can’t work. They have blinders on and they want to play it safe. Straight white males are the only characters who can be banked on.
So, in this kind of an environment, the fact that Warner Bros. have finally taken the first step and committed an actress to the role for a movie is a good sign, especially since the Wonder Woman television show is still stalled. And who knows. We already know that the studio is committed to developing a shared universe so they have likely signed on Gal for 2-3 movies at least. If she ends up in Man of Steel 2 then it goes without saying that she’s going to show up in a Justice League movie as well. It makes sense. Its logical.
Ever since the news broke out, I’ve seen a ton of wild reactions to the casting. More wild reactions than Ben Affleck being cast as Batman. Most of these reactions have strayed towards ridiculous claims that Gal is completely unfit to play Wonder Woman since A) she does not have the physical proportions to play Wonder Woman, B) she is not an A-list actress, and, C) she is a fashion model. So we have body shaming, professional shaming and just general shaming of an actress. All because the vocal critic-masses are too myopic in their views.
A) It is irrelevant whether or not she has the physical proportions to play Wonder Woman right now. Lots of actors and actresses train for physically-demanding roles. That is a fact. Most notably, actors like Christian Bale and Chris Hemsworth have done it for their roles as Batman and Thor respectively. Even more prominently, Jennifer Lawrence took archery and physical training to prepare for her role as Katniss Everdeen in the Hunger Games movies. There’s absolutely no reason why Gal can’t do it as well.
B) This is such a stupid claim that I’m not even sure where to start really. I mean honestly, Hollywood history is littered with small-time actors who made it big. Not even going to go into this one. Sure, it would have been nice if a higher-profile actress had been picked for the role, but as Kelly Thomposon said in her recent She Has No Head article on Comic Book Resources, higher-profile actresses wouldn’t be as keen to sign a multiple-movie deal where the role is a cameo for such an iconic character and where a solo movie is not even on the cards at the moment. Say what you want, but that’s a freakishly realistic reason.
I would have loved to see Jaimie Alexander in the role, particularly since she has shown a lot of interest in the role, but practicalities are otherwise I’m afraid since she is also playing Sif in the Marvel movies and I somehow doubt that it would go down well with those execs there.
C) Complete hogwash. Sure, she’s a fashion model for a clothing brand. Sure, she won a beauty page almost a decade ago. So what? She also served in the Israeli Defense Forces for two years and was also an army sports trainer at the time. How can people really argue that she can’t meet the demands of an action movie? And this goes back to the first point that she doesn’t have the physique for the role.
Personally, I’ll say that after an initial surprise and confusion over her casting, I’m actually very excited to see her in the role and in the costume. I’ve seen her in two Fast and Furious movies and I liked her in both. She mixes up quality acting with a certain sex appeal quite well. Once the franchise expanded its cast to include all the different new and old characters, and brought them all back as full and proper team, Gal Gadot was certainly an asset and she was one of the positive elements of the movies. I am excited.
And her character, Gisele Harabo, is quite a strong character in her own right as well, one who is not dependent on the males at every turn. Surprising to see in a dude-bro movie franchise like Fast and Furious, but it is there, and it is good. I am confident that she can bring the required intensity and flair to the role.
And as for the costume, I would love to see her like this (taken from cosplay artist Meagan Marie’s Tumblr):
Goddamit but that’s a fantastic look for Wonder Woman. This kind of costume speaks to her character through and through. It is a perfect look that appears modern and also conveys that Wonder Woman is a badass character who will beat the hell out of you if you cross her. The cloak and the crown convey her regal nature as a princess of the Amazons. And just overall, that costume is far sexier and much more appropriate than anything you can see in the comics currently. I would love to see Gal Gadot in that costume.
Most importantly however, what I want to see is Gal in a solo Wonder Woman movie where we have none of the other big heroes of the DC universe. No Batman, no Superman, no Flash, no Green Lantern, no Green Arrow or anyone else. I want a solo movie where the story is about her and her rogues gallery and her own supporting cast. That’s what I really want to see. I’d be willing to forgive any costume blunders if this happened and the story was good.
Nothing about a Wonder Woman project needs to be perfect. It just needs to be good. That’s really it. In an age where we have several powerful female role-models in live-action/animated projects, where Marvel is bringing a bloody talking raccoon to movie audiences very soon, where Marvel has made a character like Thor work on the big screen, there’s no reason why a solo Wonder Woman can’t happen. Just as with anything else, the studio execs need to take that particular gamble where things aren’t perfect, they are just fitting and right.
A little over a month and a half ago I did somewhat of a similar post to this (without all the talk of Gal Gadot of course) about how female comics heroes are not taken seriously by Hollywood execs and how a male bias keeps these characters from truly breaking out. You can read that one here.
Until next time!
Posted on December 10, 2013, in Comics News, Editorial, News and tagged Batman, Batman vs Superman, Comics, Comics Movies, Comics News, DC Comics, DC Movies, Diana, Diana Prince, Editorial, Freedom, Man of Steel, Man of Steel 2, Movie Casting, News, Princess Diana, Superman, Warner Bros., Warrior Women, Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman Movie. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.