In 2017, Wonder Woman not only smashed box office records for a female-directed, female-fronted superhero film, it solidified its director, Patty Jenkins, and star, Gal Gadot, as a powerhouse duo as formidable as Scorsese and De Niro or Spielberg and Hanks. The December 2020 premiere of Wonder Woman 1984 proved yet again just how lucrative the two women are for Hollywood. When it opened on Christmas Day, the sequel became the highest-grossing film to open domestically since the pandemic began, and was streamed by millions on HBO Max. Gadot has already signed on for the franchise’s third installment and is working with Jenkins on an upcoming Cleopatra project, in which she’ll play the legendary Egyptian queen. For W’s annual Best Performances issue, the 35-year-old Israeli actress discusses her life on- and off-screen.
In the first installment of Wonder Woman, your character, Diana, is almost like an innocent child. In Wonder Woman 1984, she is much more world-weary and lonely. Was that intentional?
Absolutely. We wanted to show the price of her life—the fact that she was very isolated. She looks like a person who has it all, but everything has a price. We also wanted to set her melancholy next to the brightness and candy colors of the 1980s. And we wanted to give a nod to the Lynda Carter Wonder Woman show. But what we could not have anticipated was that Diana’s solitary life would have so much relevance in 2020. In the film, the world seems to be crashing to pieces. And now, who knows when the world is going to be healthy again.
Was it hard to fly in the film?
It was! Everything in the film was challenging, but the flying part was particularly difficult. You’re hanging on wires, and they are blowing wind at you. Stones and dirt hit you as you try to make it look effortless and fun. But we are women—we all play through pain. We do what we have to do. And then we do it again.
Did you develop any new hobbies during lockdown?
We actually bought a bread-making machine! I started spending way too much time in the kitchen. And I started having terrible accidents. I burned myself very badly, and cut my finger making a cabbage salad. So I’m now keeping away from the kitchen.