Whether It’s Taking A Stand Against Sexual Harassment or Inspiring A New Generation, Gal Gadot Is A Glimmer of Hope In A Nervous World
The last few years have sucked. We’ve been forced to say farewell to more celebrities, artists, teachers, explorers and musicians than we can count. Neo-nazis and white supremacists now proudly walk the streets of American cities, shouting slogans of hate and intolerance at the top of their shameless lungs. Every day brings another mass shooting, more domestic and foreign terrorism and some new brand new breed of stomach turning hatred.
Th most powerful leaders in the world have turned Twitter into their personal temper tantrum space and the other day an article entitled “How To Survive Nuclear War” popped up on my Facebook feed. It’s a topic that’s been trending.
We could all use a few real life heroes willing to take a stand before we all suffer a collective anxiety overload. Enter Gal Gadot.
A little while ago I explained why Wonder Woman had overtaken Batman as my favourite super hero. She has always been one of my favourite characters but the reason she overtook Bats on top of my super hero totem pole had a lot to do with the world’s current political and social strife. She could be the balm to ease a deeply troubled and conflicted world while also being the warrior necessary to kick whatever asses needed kicking (and there are, like, A LOT of posteriors in need of kicking these days).
While Batman could easily dispense the physical violence needed to balance the spread sheet, he would be unable to provide the leadership, inspiration or hope necessary to heal the wounds inflicted afterwards. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, could.
Now the actress who has brought the Amazon princess to life is also taking a stand or two in real life. And she offers a glimmer or two of genuine hope in the process.
One of the first names dropped in the wave of sexual harassment and misconduct allegations currently rocking Hollywood was former director and current producer Brett Ratner’s. Actresses Olivia Munn, Ellen Paige and Natasha Henstridge (among others) have come forward against Rattner and while the director’s lawyer vehemently denies the allegations (Ratner himself has said zilch publicly), his biopic of Hugh Hefner (how’s that for some irony) has been scrapped and more importantly, his partnership with Warner Bros. is now a thing of the past.
The reason for that last one may have been Gadot, who first backed out of a dinner where she was to present Ratner with an award of achievement and then told Warner Bros. that if Ratner was involved with any Wonder Woman sequels, they could count her out (Ratner’s production company Rat-Pac Dune has produced a number of the DCEU films). While everyone tried to play it down, Ratner is now no longer poised to profit from any movies about the world’s most infamous super heroine.
It should have been a one sided fight. Gadot is a relative newcomer while Ratner is a long time (and rich) member of Hollywood’s elite boys club. Those kind of bouts rarely last past the first round and with predictable results. But with Wonder Woman one of year’s top box office warriors and seemingly at the heart of a pivotal cultural moment, Gadot played her hand perfectly. As just about the only thing the DCEU has going for it, she was able to combine her value to Warner Bros. with the optics of the situation (seriously, how could Warner have an accused sexual predator’s name attached to a movie about female empowerment?) and had Ratner in checkmate before he could even make his first move.
Gadot played down her role, telling interviewers that the decision to drop Ratner had been made before the story even saw the light of day and she was but one of many women to take that stand. She was, she says, one of the last voices to join that particular chorus. Yet without her, the demand would have had little to no weight.
One of the reasons Wonder Woman was such a hit was because of how well it captured the character, and Gadot (along with director Patty Jenkins) deserve plenty of credit for that particular feat. And how much of a coincidence is it that Wonder Woman hit huge (with both audiences and critics alike) the same time the movement against sexual misbehaviour began to gain steam?
Nobody’s saying that Wonder Woman or Gadot are responsible for Hollywood’s cultural swing, but you can’t shake the feeling that Wonder Woman’s battle theme is a suitable anthem for this movement. But while this may be Gadot’s biggest play so far, she’s had a few other tricks up her sleeve recently.
She has made her stance on sexual discrimination perfectly clear and GQ Magazine recently named her one of its Four People of the Year (Colin Kaepernick, Stephen Colbert and Kevin Durant were the others). And not only has she become synonymous with her female empowering, block. busting franchise, but she’s also offered a strong role model for young girls.
When a young girl was overwhelmed with tears when she got to meet Gadot at last summer’s San Diego Comic Con, Gadot responded with genuine compassion and empathy. Not only did Gadot win the hearts of everyone in attendance (including the little girl’s mom), but she ensured that the girl in question will always have a cherished memory.
Gadot isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Her Israeli heritage and her history as a member of its military (she was a member of the armed forces for the mandatory two years) has complicated her brand in some corners (Wonder Woman was banned in several Middle Eastern countries). And her partnership with a nutrition company raised some disapproving eyebrows as well, but she has quickly become the face of a new reality dawning in both Hollywood and the rest of the world.
And if that little girl at Comic Con is any indication, she’s also a role model to a fresh, promising new generation.