Gal Gadot is about as perfect as you can get when it comes to female role models in Hollywood: she served two years as a combat instructor in the Israeli Defense Forces, won the title of Miss Israel in 2004 and competed in the Miss Universe pageant, and went on to a successful international modeling career. In 2009, Gadot got her big-screen break in one of the biggest movie franchises going today, starring as Gisele in Fast & Furious, a role she would play in the fifth, sixth, and seventh installments.
Though the high-octane run of muscle car movies allowed Gadot to show off her action side, she’s also appeared in a number of comedies, action films, and action-comedies over the years. And while her relatively new role of Diana Prince / Wonder Woman in the Warner Bros. / DC Cinematic Universe is turning heads and building anticipation, Gadot is looking forward to testing her comedy chops in her first action-comedy lead in Keeping Up with the Joneses.
This movie finds Gadot as one of the Joneses, a spy who, along with her husband (Jon Hamm) moves into a quiet suburban neighborhood, inspiring jealousy and intrigue among their less clandestine neighbors. While on set of the Greg Mottola-directed picture that also stars Zach Galifianakis, and Isla Fisher, a small group of journalists (myself included) got a chance to talk to Gadot about this film, and her anticipation surrounding the opportunity to bring Wonder Woman to life on the big screen. Interestingly enough, her director on another movie wished her luck on the upcoming comedy role, a notoriously difficult one to pull off:
GAL GADOT: Yeah, actually I just finished shooting another movie in London, I was telling the director I worked with that I’m doing a comedy. He was like, “Oh my God. Are you sure?” I said, “Of course! That’s what I’ve been waiting for, something different.” I love to make fun of myself. He was like, “Well, good luck, Gal. Because that’s going to be the hardest thing.” Everything is just so much fun that I hope it’s going to show on screen.
Having gone through her military service and presumably a fair amount of physical training for the DC films, it’s safe to say Gadot can hold her own in the action department. Since this film is billed as an action-comedy, we wondered if Gadot had done any additional training for the role:
Not really for this one, but we had lots of fun with Steve [Ritzi], the second unit director who’s great, really professional, really makes us feel at ease. I have a very good stunt double who’s doing a great job.
What Gadot is really looking forward to, however, is the opportunity to do comedy as a lead:
I love comedy. I love it, I love it. I love what I do, and up to this day I was very lucky to be working with great people that I had chemistry with, in Fast and Furious, and Batman v Superman. I’m always lucky. But there’s something different working on a comedy set because it’s not about … it’s all about who’s going to deliver the best punch, who’s going to make us laugh harder. It’s hilarious and such an amazing experience; I’m having the time of my life.
As for the movie itself, Gadot didn’t give away too much about her character, which makes sense considering that she’s a spy, after all. Here’s how she described Natalie Jones’ personality:
Yeah, she’s more of a straight character, all about the action. She has drama queen moments where she loses it, but Zach and Isla have the comedy.
We heard from Hamm in a separate interview that he considers his own character, Tim Jones, to be more of a reluctant spy. The contrast in the Joneses’ feelings on that account lead to some tension between the two, as Gadot explains:
I think she loves being a spy. I think that’s the problem they have in their relationship: she’s so into this world and he’s not, he doesn’t like the lies, he doesn’t like playing the act, making pretend. She’s all about the adrenaline, the mission, she loves it. She’s a real spy.
She elaborated on their relationship:
That’s the nicest thing, it’s not like a cliché of two spies pretending to love each other and everything is perfect and good, and all they do is go on missions. They actually have a relationship and they have problems in their relationship because it’s real and grounded. It’s nice that I have the opportunity to play the strong female action role.
It probably makes it a little more believable that such attractive people as Gadot and Hamm would fall for each other, spycraft or no spycraft. Gadot joked about how difficult it was to find chemistry with Hamm:
Yeah. He’s ugly. He’s not talented whatsoever. Doesn’t have the experience. It’s hard, we’re still working on it.
No, Jon is great, he’s hilarious. Isla and I think that Jon should have his own talk show because that’s how funny he is. He’s fast, he’s intelligent, he knows everything, he’s so smart. He’s the funniest guy. He’s great and he’s a gentleman. Everyone is great! I have a girl crush on Isla. I’m very happy that she made the transition to being Jewish so now we can actually get married. No, I love her. And Zach is hilarious. It sounds too good to be true, but everyone is just fantastic.
But did she learn anything from her co-stars?
No, they’re very selfish.
Joking aside, Gadot did comment on her working relationship with her director, Greg Mottola:
Yes, Greg is such a great person. He’s funny, he’s not trying to be funny. He knows what he wants to get and he gets it. He set the tone on set and he just makes all the magic happen because he knows how to push our buttons, how to make us work. He’s really good with timing, he’s so sharp and he understands comedy. I love him, he’s great.
We’ll see how all this hard work pays off once 20th Century Fox’s Keeping Up with the Joneses debuts this October 26th, but in the meantime, here’s what Gadot gave us as a closer, teasing her anticipation for playing Wonder Woman:
I can say that being a mother of a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter, it’s really important for me to show her that women are great and women can follow their dreams and do what they feel like doing. I’m very happy that I have the opportunity to show the strongest and the more empowered side of women. Hopefully they’re going to love it.
I’m trying to set a good role model for my daughter, first of all. Values are very, very important. I’m looking forward to this movie and I hope that everyone is going to enjoy it and be inspired by it.