Gal Gadot Is in a League of Her Own

“I’m a people person,” says Gadot. “I can talk to a wall. I wanna learn; I wanna hear stories. So for me, working with so many people”—the large ensemble cast includes Armie Hammer, Sophie Okonedo, and Russell Brand—“was delightful, and probably even more delightful because the people I got to work with are lovely and sweet and charming. And I had Annette [Bening] there with me, who I already knew. She was kind of the one to push me and Jaron to start our production company,” which is called Pilot Wave.

The company’s first project, a series for Apple about Hedy Lamarr, will star Gadot as the gorgeous Hollywood actress and a scientific genius who pioneered the technology that laid the foundation for WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth. “Ooh, Hedy Lamarr,” says Bening when I mention it to her. “Gal is perfect for that.”

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Beautiful, talented, blessed with two children and a supportive husband—who partners with her on successful projects, like the development of Tel Aviv’s Varsano Hotel, which in 2015 Gadot and Varsano sold to Russian-Israeli billionaire Roman Abramovich for $25 million—flying all over the world, making big films with other beautiful and talented people.… Gadot’s life looks beyond privileged. And so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the internet turned on her after she posted the now infamous video of herself and other celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine,” in March, at a time when many people, including herself, had just started quarantining due to COVID.

It’s certainly hard to make it through the awful, off-key two-minute video, which features an array of head-scratching performances from the likes of Wiig, Sarah Silverman, Natalie Portman, and Will Ferrell, as well as a few real singers such as Sia and Norah Jones. And the timing was certainly off—people were feeling desperate, scared, and in need of resources, not celebrities cooing at them from their luxurious environs.

But was it really cause for the type of hate it received? Or was that just the internet doing what the internet does? Was it really deserving of the screed it got in the New York Times, in which music writer Jon Caramanica wrote: “It begins after a brief, platitudinous monologue from Gadot, who may be on lockdown, but whose mind has been freed, bro.”

When I bring it up with Gadot, she doesn’t apologize. “Sometimes, you know, you try and do a good deed and it’s just not the right good deed,” she says with a smile and a shrug. “I had nothing but good intentions and it came from the best place, and I just wanted to send light and love to the world.

“I started with a few friends, and then I spoke to Kristen [Wiig],” she says. “Kristen is like the mayor of Hollywood.” She laughs. “Everyone loves her, and she brought a bunch of people to the game. But yeah, I started it, and I can only say that I meant to do something good and pure, and it didn’t transcend.”

Her take-me-as-I-am attitude is refreshing, but I wonder how this goes over in Hollywood, which is notorious for being a place where people rarely say what they really think. “Sometimes it can get me in trouble,” she says. “There is something that I’ve learned to say, which is, ‘I don’t disagree with you, but’—so basically I’m disagreeing with you.” She smiles again. “So I adapted. I just came to the conclusion: I do me, you do you. I’d rather have you not liking me at this moment than not saying my truth.”

(After the print version of this story went to press, the news that Jenkins would direct Gadot in a forthcoming Cleopatra project generated some backlash over disagreement about the Egyptian queen’s heritage. Gadot, who is on set shooting a new project, could not be reached for comment.)

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