Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot, Linda Carter, and Amy Adams Speak

     There has been a hell of a back lash and many internet arguments raging about the Gal Gadot casting choice as the DC Comics icon Wonder Woman for the Zack Snyder's Man of Steel sequel, Batman vs Superman.  Gadot has finally spoken about the role:

It’s been said that you’re too skinny for the part. Wonder Woman is large-breasted, is that going to change?
Hmm. I represent the Wonder Woman of the new world. Breasts… anyone can buy for 9,000 shekels and everything is fine. By the way, Wonder Woman is amazonian, and historically accurate amazonian women actually had only one breast. So, if I’d really go “by the book”…it’d be problematic.
So you’re not going to gain a little weight and start eating carbs before filming begins?
It’s the physical preparations that I’m starting now. A very serious training regimen – Kung Fu, kickboxing, swords, jujutsu, Brazilian…1,000 and 1 things…I’ll gain body mass.

     First off- as for the accuracy of the portrayal we are looking for is comic book, not historical.  We do mean "by the book," the COMIC BOOK, not Herodotus' Histories.
     But since she mentioned it- it can be argued that it was a short-lived tradition because it could irrevocably damage the things they wanted to benefit in martial prowess- their throwing/shooting arms.  Besides, as an art and history student I don't recall a single Amazonian piece that is missing either breast.  Whether it be sculpture or painting, not a single one.  Here's the wiki link to Amazons, I suggest you peruse it and make your own judgement and further studies.  So could Herodotus have been relating things that were incorrect?  It is possible.  I figure there was truth in it- but only some, as many ancient renown fighters only gained glory by face to face combat.  Even Paris of Illium was considered a coward for long range combat.
     We didn't judge Marvel's Thor harshly because he didn't have red hair and have his magical belt and gauntlets.  We judged Thor based on how well they handled the Marvel version of the character.
     (On a side note, I have to admit her response is quite clever, and possibly meant as a distraction.)

     A Wonder Woman of the new world?  Well, maybe you will be, but you still need to look the part.
     Body types do mean something in these films.  I'm not talking about breast size.  I couldn't care less about that.  This is about a fighter's physique.  There's a reason no one would think of casting DJ Qualls in the role of Batman.  No one would consider hiring a hundred pound actor for Superman.  If Snyder is trying to keep with his own, new versions of these characters- grounded in reality, more gritty and realistic, then she needs to look the part of a hand-to-hand combat warrior.  Think of Lucy Lawless as Xena: Warrior Princess.  Would she have had the same impact if she was a twig?  Not even close.

     Think about it- would anyone hire Mackenzie Crook as Batman?  No.  He would, however, make a wonderful Scarecrow.  Why is that?  It's the image.  It's because appearance is important, they are archetypal for some roles- most notably in globally recognizable iconic ones at that.  Nobody is going to believe a scrawny Batman will get the job done now.  Michael Keaton worked well back in the late 80's, but now?  He wouldn't work.  If we require the males to be buff and ripped to look their respective roles, so should the ladies.

     Sure, many people cite the Heath Ledger case for character casting decisions, but he had acting chops before hand.  Most notably Brokeback Mountain.   But do you remember how quickly the Adrianne Palicki Wonder Woman show got shut down?  It had 100% to do with not nailing the image properly.  How about casting Jennifer Garner as Elektra?  Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan in Green Lantern?  Or the Schumacher Batman films.  Poorly handled on top of terrible casting.  (I admit Jim Carrey could've been great if they handled him like they handled the BBC Sherlock's Moriarty.)

     There's been the Christian Bale bulking up argument.  Plenty of males bulk up for films- Chris Evans for Captain America, Tom Hardy in Warrior, even Ben Affleck in The Town- but I have never seen a film with a woman do it properly.  The closest thing I can think of would be Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.  For that role she actually ends up very ripped, but she looks far slimmer than she did in the first Terminator.  She toned up, not bulked up.  It's tough to judge when a "model/actress" says they'll gain body mass, what their idea is.  How many models think a mere couple of pounds equals mass?

     Recently, Hollywood has an odd notion that all these "strong" women should be played by waspy thin actresses.  That we can believe a stick person can dole out massive damage.  As an alternative to thin heroine in movies- the only one I can think of is Jaime Alexander as Sif in Thor.  She was well cast, but sidelined in the films.  With a bit of bulking up she could've nailed the look of comics' portrayal of Wonder Woman nearly perfectly.  I am glad they didn't though- Wonder Woman is of Greek descent, and it is a chance for Hollywood to give a major superhero role to a non-white individual.
     (I also just recalled- Gina Carano in Haywire.  Mediocre acting at best, but at least I could believe she could beat the living sh!t out of everyone.  She could even play the role of WW.  And sadly, her acting is on par with Gadot's.)

     Which leads me to- why is she training in a bunch of NON-GRECIAN fighting techniques?  Wonder Woman is Greek fighter- trained and raised on a hidden Greek island- which means she would not be using a bunch of flashy looking moves from Eastern cultures.  She would get in and take the enemy down as fast as possible.
     And all those types of training do not add mass!  I work out on a daily basis, and have consulted my professional female body building friends, and none of them believe it is possible to gain weight through sheer martial arts training.  There needs to be a weight training portion specifically.  Hell- as a 5' 11", 150lb male, it took me quite a long while to even make it to 150.  Much longer than the mere month or two that she has before filming begins.

     In an MTV article with Amy Adams (Lois Lane from Man of Steel):
     Though she said she was "not familiar with [Gadot's] body shape," she could sympathize with being the subject of fan critiques. Her strategy: let it go.
"I don't buy into that," she said. "Not that I [don't] believe that it's happening, but I'm certainly not a classically drawn woman as they exist in comic books, so I had to embrace that I just had a baby, I still hadn't gotten my waist back. Lois is not about proportions, Lois is about her intellect and her savvy reporting skills and her empathy for Clark, and so I just didn't think about it."
"She is going to be yoked, man. He is going to make her a beast," Adams said. 
     Lois Lane is one thing, she is a reporter, leaving open a multitude of choices of appearance, Wonder Woman is a whole different problem.  I've said it a bunch- she can't look like she'd shatter if patted on the back.  None of the ladies in Sucker Punch were "beasts."  They didn't really seem like they could destroy everything in their paths.  Only Faora from Man of Steel could really be counted here.  And Antje Traue was bulkier before anyways.  Besides, did she really "bulk" for that role?  You can't tell because she's covered in Kryptonian armor.

     Even if she does get the looks down, and bulked up properly- will she be able to act the part?  Be convincing enough for a rabid fan base?  Her Fast & Furious roles say not even close.  If she manages to gain the mass and look the part- many fans will forgive shoddy acting.
     Our fandom criticisms may be harsh, but we want the best possible performances, the best we can get.  As an entertainer, Gadot (along with director Zack Snyder) should want to listen to what we say- if only to keep us wanting their productions.

     Over at MetroUK, former Wonder Woman Linda Carter herself had something to say about the role:
What is the enduring appeal of Wonder Woman? There’s an identification factor. She’s not your average superhero. It’s not so much about her super powers as it is about her ethic. I always thought of her as a figure who stands for what’s right. We all know what’s wrong with the world today, so maybe we need her right now.
     Diana Prince, Wonder Woman, is a blunt force- full of beauty and power.  A regal presence filled with grace and a little bit of attitude.  I really hope they can pull this off.  If miss Gadot can become the ripped beast of a princess and live up to the acting critisism, she'll have us as fans for life.
     If she can look like that photoshop pic above, I'll be on board.  Until we start seeing pics I unfortunately remain highly skeptical.  Of the "mass gaining" and of her current acting abilities.  Here's another chance to prove us fans wrong.

     Sorry to go on such a rant here.

     Source [ Batman News ]

     Here's a couple more posts I did about this topic 
          [ Gadot Cast as WW ]  
          [ Wb needs WW Film ]

     I would also recommend this great article on Wonder Woman's various costumes over the years [ The Mary Sue ]

     It would be worth mentioning some other Wonder Woman picture references, considering the pic above was probably made from Jeffach's Photoshop work, particularly this one.  You should check out his Deviant Art gallery, plenty of good WW pics.  [ Gallery ]

     Another great DeviantArtist with great WW pics is Nebezial.  [ Gallery ]

     Then there is the incomparable Adam Hughes.  [ Gallery ]

Some of Nebezial's Wonder Woman Sketches


  1. Interesting article with many solid arguments.

    Just one thing, Antje Traue was indeed bulky before MOS but she really worked physically to really fit the role of Faora. I think we can really see that in the movie and more explicitly in the BTS parts of the blu-ray.

    I won't make any judgment before I see Gadot playing WW. Too many actors I judged not suitable to personify a comic book character proved me they were actually really made for the role (Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor...).

    I trust Snyder and his colleagues to have made the right choice picking Gadot as WW.

    Many have doubts about a two-oscar winning actor to play the next Batman after Nolan successes, it's already a great risk and a huge burden for Affleck as for Snyder.

    Think about an actress who's not really famous and haven't really proved anything on screen and who's asked to play the most iconic female character.

    I really think they can not risk to give her this role without thinking she could appear physically as the WW we fans think of and expect on screen.

    Sorry if some parts do not sound really english, I'm not english-speaking.

  2. Thank you for commenting here!

    Antje Traue was indeed a much bulkier build originally than Gadot, and I hope the transformation to WW goes well for her. It is a tough decision Snyder and crew are dealing with, recasting every major character outside of the Man of Steel movie ones.
    I think Affleck will do well, only because of The Town. It shows the most range he's had in any other film. Following Nolan and Bale is going to be very difficult.
    The more recent Eisenberg as Luthor news is a bit strange, but I'm willing to see what is done with it.

    For being a non-english speaking person, it sounds much better than most of the other comments, and more well thought out than this blog most of the time.

    Again, thank you for posting!

  3. To be honest, to Gal reach the Wonder Woman physics, she needs the serum of the Super Soldier, just like Steve Rogers did.

  4. I grew up with Linda Carter. She acted the part. Looked the part. Going to be very hard shoes to fill!

  5. It's true, Linda Carter set the bar very high- anyone to follow her will be at an immediate disadvantage. On the good side, hopefully those that follow in her steps keep on the right track.

  6. This is a complete outrage for Gal to be playing Wonderwoman! Where'd they find this girl off the runway??? True comic book readers are outraged by this choice & have every right to be!!! Ugh why can't Hollywood ever get it right? Jamie from thor would be perfect! Alot better of choice at least. Wonderwoman was ALMOST as strong as superman!! but yet were gona have a itty bitty actress with no real muscle mass or thighs for that sake stand side by side with Superman on screen?? Shame shame.. im super bummed about this & will not enjoy the movie

  7. It's true many are hesitant to see if Gadot has actually bulked up or not, I'm hoping she gets pretty meaty for it. She'll need to look like she can break a person in half with her bare hands, and until pictures start popping up online it's tough to really tell what's going on.

    Jaime Alexander (Sif) from Thor would've been amazing, but are there contractual obligations to Marvel films??? I'm not sure, but it could be a likely reason she didn't get the role?

  8. It's unfortunate, but honestly I don't think Hollywood is ready for girls to bulk up like that, even though we know it's what should happen. Gina Carano certainly has the build for it. Gal I'm sure is used to having a slender model figure her whole life, don't know if she would be mentally ready to add the necessary muscle. The fact that her description of her "training regimen" didn't start with the word "squat" or even mention lifting weights tells me she won't get where she needs to be. Jennifer Garner put on more muscle for Elektra than I can imagine Gal will be putting on, and we know WW should look way stronger. The only actress I can remember putting on any decent muscle for a role was Jessica Biel for Blade Trinity. She looked great in that. And WW should be bigger than that also. I agree though, it would nice to see some pictures of Gal to see if she's actually made progress. They always show actors walking around talking about how much they've bulked up for a role, it's about time they do the same for the girls.

  9. I had completely forgotten about Biel's bulk up, and Carano definitely has the build. It is kind of sad that you are quite right about Hollywood not being ready for a bulky hero lady. Although- I'm playing devil's advocate here- I would really love it if Gadot somehow manages to actually pull a Christian Bale when he went from the Machinist to Batman Begins weight and they hold the image until the very last minute to make it a massive reveal.
    But sadly, this probably won't be the case and we'll end up with a twig-sized WW.

  10. Brazilian jiujitsu is a Greco Roman fighting style... I couldn't take seriously and continue readding the article after you said that she's only going for the "flashy" fight style. I agree, I don't see her as WW, but she's an actress, she could adapt and do it!

  11. After seeing the reveal pic this weekend, my hopes have gotten a little less worrisome, but only a little less. Gadot hasn't bulked up as much as I was thinking- but it is a noticeable amount.

    For the flashy styles- that's used in many, MANY movies- they want brilliantly choreographed sword flourishes and twirls and crap that would never work in a real battle but look nice on screen. And for the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, it may be a from of Greco-Roman styles, but would Wonder Woman have trained in a style not of the Island of Themyscira? Maybe. Though they could've developed a similar style all on their own since they are a combat centric Amazonian civilization.

    PS: I just clicked your name above your comment, and you've got some stunningly amazing cosplay! Well done, I particularly like the Diablo 3 Demon Hunter- it is definitely a work of art, and the Wonder Woman- Regime: Injustice. Very impressive work!

    PPS: Thank you for commenting!

  12. I just found this article now, but I wanted to write because I agree with everything you said. Wonder Woman is such a touchy subject for me. I guess one of her origins is that she was made out of clay and brought to life to be the strongest, most beautiful woman in the world. Well, Lynda carter made me believe that. Have you seen her nowadays?? The woman really IS Wonder Woman. Gadot could turn out to be everything and more, and I still don't think she will be the perfect fit. Like you said... "appearance".
    That woman in the latest "Expendables" movie made me believe she could kick every woman's ass on the planet, but hell, she does that in real life besides already having the appearance.
    I think Palicki didn't make a great WW, but made a fantastic Diana Prince, if that makes sense. I can't see Gadot doing either.
    They had a million options from whom to cast as WW. I've grown very tired of the skinny bad girl in movies who takes on muscle bound men with a sarcastic bitch attitude and I'm hoping WW falls into more than just a cliche.
    On the other hand, she has super powers. So... I guess she doesn't need to look it to be it. Hell, I still don't understand how Superman got so ripped being here on Earth. What did he work out with? Was he benching skyscrapers as a young adult? Sure, he could have been a naturally husky person thanks to his parents. But ripped?
    However, all of that doesn't matter because I am on board with Gadot not having the appearance. I don't care if she's not the greatest actress. This is a movie based on comic book superheroes. She could prove everyone wrong, but she just doesn't look it.
    And call me shallow, but it's WW! So yes, I want BOOBS.