Why I'm Thrilled Gal Gadot, Former Soldier and Beauty Queen, Is the New Wonder WomanDresden Shumaker
Remember how everyone had that massive panic attack about who would be cast as Batman in the next installment of Superman? (Also known as Batman vs Superman.) When casting news broke and Ben Affleck’s name was at the top of the heap, the reaction around the Internet was akin to a very sharp intake of breath. This was followed by much complaining and debating before everyone finally dialed it down and moved on.
The announcement this week of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the film has people reacting in a very different way. I’ll do a a comparison moment for you to demonstrate:
Me: Did you hear Ben Affleck was just cast as Batman?
People: OMG! Are you kidding me!? Oh the HUMANITY!
Me: Did you hear Gal Gadot was just cast as Wonder Woman?
Me: So? Did you?
The biggest objection, for lack of a better word, seems to be that people have no idea who Gal Gadot is. The LA Times swiftly published 5 things to know about your new Wonder Woman in order to help us all out. They begin with a bit of a prologue from director of Batman vs. Superman, Zack Snyder.
“Wonder Woman is arguably one of the most powerful female characters of all time and a fan favorite in the DC Universe. Not only is Gal an amazing actress, but she also has that magical quality that makes her perfect for the role. We look forward to audiences discovering Gal in the first feature film incarnation of this beloved character.”
EW’s Darren Franich does an OUTSTANDING breakdown about why the casting of such an iconic role is so gosh darn tricky. One of the best points he makes is this one:
“Part of the problem with casting Wonder Woman is that Hollywood is mostly run by guys who each have their own inaccurate and occasionally offensive perspective on what the Ultimate Vision of Womanhood would be. But honestly, you could put Sheryl Sandberg, Camille Paglia, Hillary Clinton, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, the women from American Horror Story, and the writing staff of Jezebel in a room for a week and ask them to cast their ideal Wonder Woman, and the net result would be the same.”
Read all of Darren’s take on this casting because it is spot on.
So who is Gal? What is she bringing to the table in this role? Gal is 28 years old and a former model from Israel. (She is also a former Miss Israel.) IGN reports that before she was cast in Fast and Furious 6, she was serving in the Israeli Defense Forces as a fitness instructor. According to her super brief bio on IMDB, she is married to Yaron Versano and they have a two-year-old daughter, Alma.
What I wasn’t expecting to see within social media was all of the objections to the casting of Gal based entirely on her body size. What we have seen of Gal, thus far, is a smaller framed woman and there are people up in arms that someone so small could ever portray Wonder Woman. MTV wondered if all of this attention to Gal’s size was a form of body-shaming so they interviewed Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO/Founder of The Representation Project to find out. Jennifer had lots to say.
“First of all, I think we spend way too much time judging women, and I think the larger issue here is that there aren’t enough women protagonists in the lead positions in Hollywood entertainment. So when there is one woman, everybody sort of focuses on it, and criticizes that particular woman or that character.”
That’s what seems to be happening here; an actress has been thrust into the spotlight and people are delighting in tearing her body apart.
I think it is wonderful that someone so relatively unknown has been cast in such a huge role. Lynda Carter only had a handful of credits under her star-studded utility belt before she was cast as Wonder Woman in the much beloved TV show. The character of Wonder Woman is strong, tough, and feminine — who better to combine all of those traits than a former soldier and beauty queen?
What do you think of the casting news?
Image Credits: Wikimedia, PR Photos
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