“Gal Gadot on Becoming Wonder Woman, the Year’s Most Important Action Figure”

Wonder WOMAN She is about to give my unborn kid a blessing. She asks, “Can I?” before wrapping her lengthy fingers across my growing belly. Her hands have a cozy, motherly feeling. She fixes her attention firmly on me. She inquires, “Girl or boy?” I yell, “Girl,” at her. Her grin broadens. “Being a woman is a strength,” she asserts. “In so many different ways.”

Oddly, this is not a dream; it’s a lunch at the Chateau Marmont. Gal Gadot is ostensibly here to talk about her rise from almost total unknown to an iconic, worldwide symbol of all that is good and powerful as the first-ever feature-film incarnation of Wonder Woman.

 But it’s hard not to see elements of the superhero in the way she just is. Never mind that she was up at 5 a.m. with a four-month-old (“Dude, it’s exhausting, but it’s the best”); in person, her aura hovers somewhere between Earth mother and glamazon. Her accent is Bond-worthy and cloaked in the smokiness of her voice.

 Her Wonder Woman performance so convincingly embodies both the badassness and the overwhelming decency of the character that she may as well be a walking, talking rebuff to the misogyny of the Trump era – so much so that it was reportedly not uncommon to see women weeping openly in theaters as they watched her onscreen. 

Most of the world may not yet know how to pronounce her name (it’s “gadott,” not “gadoh”), but Gadot can hardly bother herself with such frivolous concerns. “I like it when it’s calm and a harmonic atmosphere,” she tells me. And later: “You should find your neutral place with yourself.” In her presence, these things seem possible, even probable.