It’s funny that this writer gets a chance to work on a film post like this immediately after completing his own initial call-sheet for a regional shoot. But enough about me, let’s talk Wonder Woman. This is one of the most powerful and influential, not to mention empowering, characters in the comic book superhero universe. We, therefore, do not blame the handful of fans who saw the post-credits end-scene in Avengers: Infinity War and assumed the W/M shaped logo was similar to that found on Wonder Woman’s costume.
Gal Gadot has made history in more ways than one. From her vocal stance on important political matters to her desire to prove that female movie characters can be both attractive and powerful. She did not get to be Wonder Woman by a fluke. In fact, her contract contained (contains?) a powerful series of clauses, ones that bound her to a sort of code of living. It is far from being frown-worthy, as you will realize by the time you finish this article.
Actors put in a lot of hard work behind the scenes as well as in front of them. They are expected to be perfect (almost) and it comes as no surprise to see a humble Gal Gadot take the rigors of her contractual obligations seriously. This article is an ode to how she puts the Wonder in Wonder Woman.
21 One Clause To Seal Them All
No spoilers! This may seem like a trivial contract clause. Some of you are probably thinking it’s a rather obvious one. After all, which studio wants their lead character misrepresenting their interests by giving away the crux of the game early in the filming, post-production, and promotion circuit? You can certainly imagine this clause going into all the other popular superhero actors’ contracts. With Gadot, in particular, she is not permitted to share anything at all about the films she is in: nothing about the characters and co-cast members’ roles, nada on plot or villains, and absolutely zero on her own character.
Everything will be available to viewers on the silver screen, or to pirates who manage to steal online copies and give the filmmakers reason to sigh. A lot of work goes into every movie and it is only fair and right to have lead actors keep mum on the essentials. A spoiler is fun, for a while. Then the movie it ‘spoils’ gets old real quick. With the first Wonder Woman film having grossed a stunning $412.6 million in the United States and Canada, it’s no wonder the studio wants Gadot to follow this rule to the letter, especially after the 2019 sequel announcement. This is no small production, people! It grossed a global $821.9 million but started with a budget of $149 million. Looks like the Princess of Themyscira is going to have to train more and chat less.
20 No Going Over To The Dark Side
This may seem unfair to one of the strongest female superheroes in existence, but that’s just it. She is strong enough to take on, say, Thanos; though her chances of success on that count are not guaranteed. This is probably what bade the studio heads to deny Wonder Woman any opportunity to do crossovers. Not only is she fated to be an exclusively DC character, she cannot, in the future, leap on the trend-train that seems to have promised audiences that the future of superhero cinema entails super-interesting crossovers.
Hey, even TV has proven to play with the idea and gathered high ratings. Supergirl, the Flash, and Arrow spring to mind. Wonder Woman is not the only character so restrained. Comic-Con Sydney 2017 saw a blatant reveal from Chris Hemsworth, aka Thor, stating as much about Marvel superheroes. Looks like Disney/MCU and WB/DC are on opposing teams.
There is an ongoing rumor, though a rather subtle one, that this clause can be altered, which would mean Gal Gadot can appear as her signature character in the Avengers movies, for instance. But we doubt it because that would mean roping in the rest of them, and we all know what a certain Kryptonian and caped crusader will bring to the table. Marvel may have caught Spider-Man back, but they are not gonna snag Wonder Woman that easily, especially since they don't own her character.
19 The Wonder Of Comic Books
With hundreds of character sketch design artists and even more costume designers in Hollywood, creating a character from scratch is not as impossible as some of you might think. Where Wonder Woman is concerned, it may have been all too tempting for designers from all over to sew their labels on her caricature and say they contributed something special to the superhero realm. But the DC studio heads knew precisely what direction they wanted to take, and it was not a kamikaze one.
The yesteryear comic books featuring Princess Diana, the Themyscira version, not the British one, had a popular and distinct look already in place.
DC simply took that look and, as though they themselves were staying in character, slightly polished it around the edges, and made minimal alterations. No wonder they wanted Gal Gadot to portray the comic book Diana to a T. While Gadot may not be as voluptuous as the superhero in the comics, she’s the real version of Diana, in a way; toned and muscular at the same time. To look like an Amazonian is easier imagined than realized, and Gadot rose to the occasion in more ways than one. Her final look exceeded expectations. She was convincing in her role as a fighting machine armed not just with powerful skills but an even mightier intellect. This is the Wonder Woman we all know and love, and Gadot had to be her 24-7.
18 Forever In Shape
It isn’t CGI that makes Gal Gadot look the way she does. Not only was she Miss Israel 2004, Gadot is also credited with a two-year tenure in Israel’s mandatory military service. Suffice to say, staying in shape is not new to her, a theme that would be further impressed upon her concerning the role of Wonder Woman. Princess Diana of Themyscira seems like an alternate version of Xena the Warrior Princess, but with an added element of magic and antiquity by way of her heritage and truth-telling lasso. She absolutely has to look the part, no doubt about it.
This clause in her contract is therefore non-negotiable. She cannot use her hard-earned dollars to eat whatever she wants. We will cover this in adequate detail under select sub-headings, so we do her workout routines justice. If you are wondering where she learned such graceful fighting moves, it has more to do with her twelve-year exposure to dancing than any external stress on her to be a feminine warrior.
For her character, Diana, she also had to learn sword fighting and ancient martial arts in order to be the part. Select muscles are honed in these endeavors, and DC is not above being a stickler for details. From gym work to body mass increase, Gal is on record admitting how she had to work out for a good six months prior to shooting the film.
17 Gal Wonder
Before filming even began, a certain actor was not feeling all there. She was busy facing trials and exhaustion, and for a jaw-dropping six months too, working out every day for seven hours, all to get into shape for Wonder Woman. The training may seem sped up, but there was an entire movie to make and Gal had to step up or step away. Not only did she kiss her weekends goodbye, Gadot also had to experience a variety of exercises, not the usual gym routines that normal people often undertake to get trim.
One of her cardio workouts included rowing in the morning. This in itself was essential for a lot of reasons, based on her physique and overall exercise schedule for the day. In this manner, her routines were varied and specific, and she had to be the best version of herself for all those seven hours. Her day demanded that she take up fencing, martial arts, sword fighting, horseback riding, and rock climbing.
Then there were the after-workout maintenance routines until the next day, the diet, the no-nos… It’s tiring just reading about it. From toning to core-strengthening, Gal Gadot was proving that she could kick behind, and this was way before the film crew started shooting the movie.
16 The Words Come Later
Spoilers are the plague! They may be interesting to some fans, but for most of us they end up ruining the surprise. This is exactly why the studio heads at DC decided not to let their actors, Gal Gadot included, even see the script until filming begins. There has been a growing trend among superhero movies that someone or another releases leaks online. Whether by accident or intention, nobody wants to be caught red-handed in this ill-advised endeavor, because things will obviously end badly for those who give in to such treachery.
As you can imagine, no leading actor worth their costume and makeup wants to be caught anywhere near such an afflicted scenario. So Gadot must certainly be peeved at being unable to learn her own character’s role in the script, but she’s also patient and understanding. After all, she has a lot of working out to do and very little time to be concerned about how well DC’s brilliant writers have penned her character. There have indeed been known cases where celebs have spilled the beans on their own upcoming movies. (Cough cough, Tom-Holland-2017-Instagram-Live, cough cough). Highly anticipated or not, Wonder Woman’s lips are sealed lest she put her contract in jeopardy. They don’t call it show business for nothing.
15 It’s Three Or Nothing
To ensure that they have a rich variety of story-space to indulge, DC studio heads were clever enough to include this clause in not just Gal Gadot’s contract but also in those of other popular stars in the DC universe. They want her to be ready to say yes to a 3-movie deal or it’s a no-go. Obviously, Wonder Woman said yes, because what has she got to lose but box office ratings, which she incidentally earned fifty times over; maybe more?
It only makes practical film-sense that they hire actors for a longer run-time than just letting them go after one movie.
This is exactly what happened with Gadot who initially signed on to star in all three DC mega-hits: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, and Justice League. Having been paid $300,000 for each movie, we can’t say she was frowning on the deal. It may be a low figure by some standards, but box office bonuses surely evened things out for Gal. We can say much the same for Chris Evans’ paycheck for Avengers. As you can see, their salary may seem glamorous but the work that needs to be done for the character to shine is quite high. In this regard, we believe Gadot was paid too little for her portrayal of Wonder Woman, especially in light of the many workouts she had to follow, which we will get to soon.
14 There Are Two Wonder Women?
In line with the previous point, we would like to take this moment to mention how Gal Gadot cannot negotiate her contract until her movie, in this case one or all three that she signed up for, become hits at the box office. A certain affliction seems to be influencing women in films. Patty Jenkins, the director of WW, is on record stating as much about how she received a mere $1 million for helming Wonder Woman. She has recently re-negotiated her deal with Warner Bros. and is looking to take home $8 million, and that’s only to write, direct, and produce the Wonder Woman sequel (estimated release date, Dec 13, 2019).
That would make Patty Jenkins the highest paid female director of all time, and we haven’t included added box-office bonus-cheques! Our dear Gal Gadot is on a similar fee-spree, finalizing her WW2 contract with the studio heads while at the same time supporting her director and friend to make her mark in the field of equal pay. We can’t say we aren’t impressed. This takes guts, more so in today’s Hollywood. Looks like both ladies made empowerment-statements off-screen, and some of us are only just coming to know how they did it.
13 Why So Not Serious?
There is definitely a good reason why the DC universe is dark and oftentimes desolate. This particular comic book universe is apparently supposed to highlight the darker side of life and is therefore justifiably serious, unlike its comparatively light-hearted cousin, the MCU. It all began with a sort of ‘jinx’ in Green Lantern’s joke-filled storytelling, which did not quite sit well with audiences. DC must have been rather superstitious (they probably still are) and so decided to go stiff upper lip for as many portions of their movies as possible.
So it comes as no surprise to learn that Gal Gadot has been tasked with maintaining that level of humor-less seriousness in her role as Wonder Woman. There is every chance that as an actress she might want to ‘loosen up’ a bit in the role. In order to stay unique in relation to Marvel’s way of storytelling, DC keeps making certain that they give audiences around the world something different in their universe. This rule, however, seems to be experiencing a slight alteration owing to the fact that we have seen a handful of funny moments in both Wonder Woman and Justice League. Perhaps DC is turning over a new leaf? Or are they simply sprinkling a little sugar on top, just cause?
12 Horse Sense
At thirty-two years of age, Gal Gadot looks stunning as ever. But this beauty also packs brains. She’s trained in martial and weapon arts, knows her gym routines like the back of her hand, and has plumbed the depths of one of comic books’ renowned superheroes, namely Wonder Woman. At this point, there seems little that Gadot cannot do, from being a major beauty pageant winner to serving in the Israeli army. She has proven apt for the part of Diana even offset, apparently, especially in light of her recent bold moves via global media against a certain Brett Ratner.
It is, therefore, not too far-fetched to learn that she has to know horseback riding too if she is to play the role of Diana to a fault.
Now, horseback riding is not as easy as it sounds, especially when you include her other strenuous workout routine requirements. Where does she find the time and energy? Gadot learned the skill from scratch and realized how exhausting it can be. She even contracted bruises and joint aches throughout. Before long, she became a masterful horse-woman. Seems like Gal Gadot has become even more ready to convince the world that she could be the real deal. We’re not the first fan to hint that Gal could BE Wonder Woman pretending to be Wonder Woman.
11 Just Keep Training
Gal had a slight advantage that worked in her favor when she auditioned for the part of Wonder Woman. She’d served in the Israeli Army for years before adopting a career in acting. No matter how intense her training might have been back home, she was in for a tougher time where Wonder Woman’s regimen was concerned. Let’s just say it put the ‘E’ in Exhausting. It’s not like she had all the support in the world, either. Hundreds of fans made mention of her being too slim or petite to play Diana. Despite it all, she stuck by her guns and her guts and made it work, every single day.
Her training aimed at gaining body mass by way of practices and workouts in an assortment of categories: jujutsu, sword fighting, kickboxing, and even Kung Fu. She gained pure muscle mass to the tune of seventeen pounds since stepping on the training track. She personally shared how empowering it felt, how her entire worldview changed, and how she walked and felt so different to how things were before. One could say she transformed into Wonder Woman right then. Her regimen included training from diverse professionals, and she barely had time for a relaxing holiday before filming began, so she had to do her training right and stay consistent throughout. Yet another must-have for Gadot to hold on to her role.
10 Femme Fatale
While learning to fight actual battles with actual weapons, chances are any one of us will turn primal and start making faces and producing sounds that are, how shall we put this without stepping on any toes, unsophisticated by modern-day etiquette. The studio made it expressly clear, and yes it does sound a bit harsh but this is show business after all, that Gal Gadot retain her femininity while also communicating ferocity. Through unbridled dedication, Gadot performed all her workouts to perfection and attained her own signature Amazon look.
The way her character went on to empower and inspire has proven the worth that Wonder Woman holds in the hearts of fans everywhere. Her exercise also imparted stamina, which ended up further enhancing Gadot’s overall regimens and keeping her from falling tired prematurely. In a lot of regards, these exercises themselves were based on warriors and all the techniques and skills they had to know before they could be dispatched onto the field as bona fide soldiers. You may have noticed subtle instances of Gadot balancing her womanly charms with her warrior wonders. From her running style to her dance-like fighting technique, even the way she shouts (roars, rather) in battle, Gadot made Princess Diana of Themyscira look more than good, she made her look spectacular.
9 ‘R’ For Replaceable
This can be considered one of the strictest most unfair clauses out there. But in defense of the studio heads, when a lioness realizes her own power she will be unstoppable. In this regard, Gal Gadot being denied small but important ‘permissions’ in the movie means the studio gains some measure of control over one of their almighty superheroes. This is precisely why one of the clauses in her contract states that she can be replaced and that Gadot must not contest the same if or when such a moment has to occur.
Obviously, valid reasons will be provided ahead of time, and probably even due compensation. But why would Gal Gadot even say yes to such a deceptive clause in her work contract? It’s because she knows its safety value for the studio heads and her own long-term stay as Wonder Woman. She can’t go about changing her character or the events associated with her once she turns into a super-popular actor. Also, the studio, much like Batman, sought to maintain the clause as a form of ‘kryptonite’ exclusive for Diana so she would, as an actor, not pose a threat to the entire filmmaking team. If you think this is over the top, and that no actor would ever jeopardize their own career by publicly stating a strong-minded opinion concerning their place in the film, simply read up on the reasons why Edward Norton as the Hulk was replaced with Mark Ruffalo.
8 Popular Gal
It was always a prominent expectation that the actor who gets to play Wonder Woman can and will earn a good bunch of fans. This directly equates to popularity, a factor that Gal Gadot has been okay with using if it meant shedding light on important matters in Hollywood, like women’s rights. This is, of course, contractually permissible, when in fact there are several celebrities out there who are not allowed to speak out on personal and political matters. Gadot has taken this opportunity following her leap to power after Wonder Woman to empower women all over the world, not just in the U.S.A.
She is also an active lobbier for better stronger roles for women in cinema. She is on record stating that Hollywood needs more female writers so they can create more credible pathos for women in film. Gone are the “poor heartbroken girl” days. Imagine turning heads at the United Nations, where the Wonder Woman fictional character was bestowed the title of ‘Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls’ (2016). This has only added to Gadot’s responsibilities, a fact that we have seen her uphold by speaking out on pertinent matters that affect women’s lives and livelihoods today. Come to think of it, this is also something the fictional character of Wonder Woman has proven to do in the comic book stories. Go figure!
7 Imagine The Possibilities
Imagine Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in the MCU! Pardon us for the crossover idea, which we already covered above as a big no-no in Gadot’s contract. But we have been itching to share our thoughts on this particular leaf in her legal stack. In this day and age where crossovers are raking in colossal profits at the box office, it seems that puerile pride and professional prejudice are standing in the way of DC and Marvel shaking hands on a merger. Some fans will definitely freak out and riot about it, but that’s not to say they won’t also be curious about how a mega-storyline involving the MCU and DCU may turn out.
This brings us back to Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman.
If this article were written pre-Infinity War, we might never have had cause to say what we are about to. Diana, the Amazon Princess of Themyscira, could indeed have turned the tide against Thanos. Now we will hear hollers from fans who will rightly, and most welcomely, say Batman, Superman, the Flash, and other DC bigwigs could well have taken him on as well. Why, the Justice League in sync with the Avengers could achieve anything! Perhaps this is exactly why these two worlds are not destined to marry. Their bond could make it impossible for credible storylines with a chance at failure for our favorite heroes. And no story can be said right if everything is going to work in the favor of the good guys.
6 Empowerment All The Way
This may be a subtle point on our list, but it is still a distinctly important one on Gal Gadot’s. Her character has always been an icon of empowerment. Wonder Woman has inspired women and young girls in special ways over the years. She has stood as a source of strength and played role model to women and girls the world over, much like any male superhero has for men and boys. We look up to our heroes, they define us, they make us want to be more than we presently are. So this entry in Gadot’s contractual obligations is not unwarranted.
In everything she does, until she exits her contract as Wonder Woman, Gal must be an exemplary role model, and not just to women and girls. She stands as testimony to how women, actual women not the fictional kind, can live up to incredible ideals; you have read enough so far to confirm this for yourself. Gal Gadot has, therefore, earned more than her fair share of respect, and inspires others to in turn respect women of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. This, more than anything, makes her one of our favorite superheroes, and we are referring to both Wonder Woman and Gal Gadot as one entity.
5 Put The Diva On Hold
In a movie this vast, the actors are going to rub elbows with one another for several hours in a day, every day. They are going to have to go on promotional tours together. They are also going to have to create that singular sync, which we see in all great movies. This inter-relationship factor is crucial if anyone wants to call themselves a professional performer. So when the contract said that Gal Gadot, being as important as she is, not pick fights with cast or crew, there was a solid reason behind the notion.
It may not even have to be Gal’s fault, but if she shifts her weight around the set, it is most probably going to generate bad friction among cast and crew members, resulting in that precious inter-relationship factor being affected. Psychologically, and for the sake of morale, this contract clause has our vote, and we are sure Gadot welcomed it with her usual grace and charm. And remember the point above where she was clearly let in on the fact that she can be replaced? That may be strict, but it sure adds incentive. We as viewers and fans must understand that our heroes are played by ordinary people with extraordinary talent. Studio heads are cold but clever enough to pre-empt negative scenarios among those working under their roof. If you think this is bad, take a look at some prenuptial agreements and come right back. We’ll wait.
4 You Are What You Eat
You knew this was coming. We grazed the topic a few times earlier, and here we give it to you in full. Gal Gadot’s diet is anything but average. She needs this diet which, aside from the obvious ‘get trim’ requirement, would efficiently enable her to perform her daily seven-hour workout routines. Food is fuel, and our Amazon Princess needs all the nutrients she can get, which is why leafy greens and lean protein are top on her list of daily eats. Eggs and fruit for a high-protein breakfast, which is one more must-eat on Gal Gadot’s plate. Lunch and dinner have her enjoying some grilled chicken, leafy greens, a pinch of olive oil, and salmon steaks.
For any nutritionists in the crowd, you’ll have recognized how rich in B-Vitamins Gadot’s diet is. These vitamins are directly responsible for converting food into raw energy, and heaven knows Gadot needs plenty of that if she’s going to work out to play the role of Wonder Woman. We’re not saying it makes her exercise routines overly easy, but some relief is better than none. Veggies and fruits are her snacks of choice, or rather mandatory, and she downs at least one gallon of water a day. None of this means she staves off sleep and parties past midnight. Gal has to get her beauty rest if she is to make any of this work. A nice reasonably long shut-eye ensures that her body recovers from her daily exertions.
3 Specific Exercises Gal Must Absolutely Follow Every Day
Her body was chiseled in the movie, like one of those statues she worked on as part of her day job. Wonder Woman, aka Gal Gadot, has gone ahead several miles in the business of crafting oneself into a superhero. She has done just as much as, if not more, than some male actors and has carved a niche for herself and her character in the fan-market. All this is thanks to her strenuous workout regimen, without which all the acting in the world would not have sufficed to convince, let alone satiate, die-hard fans who wanted to see the most realistic portrayal of their beloved Diana, Princess of Themyscira, on the silver screen.
Her regimen included the enormously tricky Burpee Broad Jump, essential for body strengthening.
It’s super-effective but also needs skill and a proper approach if it should work at all. Most of Gadot’s major muscle groups came under this one exercise’s focus: hamstrings, chest, glutes, arms, quads, and abs. That last is benefited only if push-ups are thrown into her burpee broad jump routine, and of course, it was thrown in. We are going to cover in three-parts, or rather points (including this one), some of the nightmarish regimens that Gadot had to perform for six months, and at apt times afterward, if she was to hold on to the role of Wonder Woman.
2 To Look Like Wonder Woman...
Agility, speed, and strength were adequately covered by the burpee broad jump, but there’s more. Not only was Gal Gadot burning thousands of calories with that regimen, she was also giving her body a high-intensity full-body workout. So, what’s stopping her from stopping there? Her contract included other essentials, including several pages out of the book of Martial Arts. This particular training-set began way back for her, in Batman v Superman, during which time she had to learn and master (within reason) Kung Fu, Capoeira, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and sword fighting. Each of these martial arts techniques, coupled with her dance experience, blossomed over sweat, blood, and hidden tears into an on-screen visual that made us believe we were watching an other-worldly warrior work her skills in our mortal world.
In order to fulfill her other contract clause, namely that of appearing feminine throughout all this, Gadot had to develop lean muscle so her costume could best display curves. Female athletes do not require the glamour appeal that’s heavily demanded in the realm of cinema, and so Gadot had to pull even that trick out of her hat. Or rather she had to work extra-hard to ensure she lived up to the image of Wonder Woman a la DC. She focused on her shoulders, triceps, and chest via Bear Crawl exercises, renowned for stabilizing the spine and strengthening the mid-section. This, in turn, meant Gadot could lift more weights, owing to the boost she received to her athletic performance. Bear crawls beat crunches to a pulp!
1 It's A Full-Time Job
We now bring you the weirdly named but supremely powerful exercise technique called Crab Walks. In case we lost you along the way, we are on a tri-part mini-series exploring the super-strenuous workout regimens (three of them, at any rate) that Gal Gadot had to perform for months on end to hold fast to her position as Wonder Woman. With crab walks, she ensured that her upper body received all the keen attention it needed. By using her own body weight as resistance, Gadot took a break from all that gym equipment and simply crab walked her way to fitness.
As you can imagine, the name of the exercise hints at what position her body is going to be in for the technique to work. It is extremely difficult, owing in large part to the fact that the human form is not designed to move like a crab. Awkwardness aside, Gadot took to it like Hermione Granger would to a rare book at Hogwarts. She made it work! Crab walks are renowned for multiple-toning several body parts (hamstrings, legs, shoulders, triceps, back, and core) and burning fat like no man’s business. It helped Gadot do more in one gym session in less time, and it imparted one of the best full-body cardio workouts out there. After reading this, are you as exhausted as we are? Now, who wants to be Wonder Woman?