WTF Hollywood??? Why Casting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a Horrible Idea
*WTF Hollywood??? will be a reoccurring feature on House of Geekery where I will sound off about ridiculous, inane, or shameful things that occur in the movie industry.
My passion for film runs deep, yet despite that, I try not to let things in the movie world bother me too much. It’s something I have zero control over anyway so why get worked up about it? Having said that, there are certain things that Hollywood pulls that just pisses me the Hell off. It could be an unwelcome sequel, a movie that’s been in Development Hell for too long, post converting a picture to 3D when it’s not necessary, or any of a number of things. Whatever the topic is, it’s always something that compels me to write about it.
This time it’s a casting choice.
News broke on Wednesday that Gal Gadot, of the Fast & Furious franchise, had been cast as Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman Vs. Superman movie. This caused an explosion across the Nerdverse of supernova proportions. Everyone is weighing in on this topic.
And now so am I.
When I first heard that Ben Affleck had been cast as Batman I was more shocked than upset. In fact as I thought about it, I really wasn’t upset at all. People hated the Michael Keaton choice for Batman too and that turned out fine, so I’m willing to reserve judgement until I see the finished product. However, the same can’t be said of my reaction to Godot’s casting.
Look I won’t pretend that I’m a fan of Wonder Woman. Far from it. (Although I will admit I watched the television show starring Linda Carter back in the day.) Aside from that I never followed the comic books or was particularly interested in Wonder Woman’s storyline. In fact my interest in recent years only pertained to the possible inclusion of her character in the proposed Justice League movie.
Now is Gadot beautiful? Yes. Can she act? Yes. Is she right for the role of Wonder Woman? Absolutely not. The reason is very simple: she doesn’t physically fit the role at all.
I know what the women are probably thinking at this point, “Here comes the misogynist man who only cares about big breasts and a round posterior, blah blah blah.” It’s simply not true. (Well it’s partly true. I am after all a healthy thirty-five year old male and I won’t deny I enjoy the female form. I’m not a misogynist but I’m not dead either.)
Now far be it from me to judge a person’s body type. My physique is more akin to John Belushi than Matthew McConaughey, so I’ve got no room to talk. Having said that, Gal Gadot is too thin for this role. Wonder Woman is meant to be a voluptuous, full-figured Amazonian heroine who’s fiercely beautiful and intimidating. Gadot just doesn’t fit the bill. As I’ve said, this isn’t about wanting an actress to play Wonder Woman who possesses funbags the size of basketballs. This is about a trend that’s been perpetuated in Hollywood for far too long: that beauty solely belongs to the thin and waif-like.
You all know the image I’m talking about. We see them all the time in “Redbook” and “Vogue” and “Vanity Fair.” They may be pretty but they also possess ribs that could cut steel and look like they last had a carb circa 1992. Consequently Hollywood, and to a larger extent the media in general, perpetuates a standard of beauty that is virtually unattainable. The fact that this notion of the “ideal” female body type influences impressionable young girls, sickens me to no end. I live in a country (United States) where eating disorders run rampant, the majority of which affect women. Someday I’d like to have a daughter. If that ever happens, it’s my responsibility as a parent to ensure that she has a positive self-image and doesn’t get caught up in this nonsense.
For the life of me I can’t understand why Hollywood didn’t go in a different direction here. I have to believe that at least some execs were clamoring for a full figured actress to have the role. Unfortunately, because of this beauty ideology and a distinct lack of testicular fortitude, the role went to a woman who resembles Olive Oil. Maybe I would have been less upset if the pool of curvaceous women who can actually act was shallow, but that’s not the case. It’s not like the only option for producers was Katy Perry. I think actress Blake Lively could easily have played Wonder Woman. Not only does she possess the requisite figure, her acting chops are legit. Anyone who doesn’t believe that needs to check out The Town. Or why not Salma Hayek? She’s an Academy Award nominee, she looks the part, and casting a Latina would have been an inspired choice. Alas it was not be.
I don’t want this article to sound like an indictment of Gal Gadot. That’s not my intent. She’s a fine actress and I’m sure she’ll make the best of it. Hell she may end up even making me eat golden lasso with her performance a year and half from now. Anything is possible. Critics thought Heath Ledger wasn’t cut out for The Joker and that turned out to be a colossal error in judgement. No this isn’t an indictment of Gadot. It’s an indictment of a town and an industry that perpetuates a female body type that influences and damages young women’s self-image. And in the end that’s worse than any casting decision could ever possibly be.