Israeli actress Gal Gadot is taking the world by storm with her performance in the upcoming Wonder Woman film this weekend and her home country could not be any prouder.
The model turned actress who first debuted on the silver screen in Hollywood with Fast & Furious stole the show in last year’s superhero epic as the Amazonian Princess and after this weekend she’ll be a household name. While Gadot isn’t the first major celebrity to come from Israel (supermodel Bar Refaeli) or even the first Israeli actress to appear in the DCEU (actress Ayelet Zurer played Superman’s mom, Lara Lor-Van in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel), the middle eastern country has never quite had a celebrity reach this magnitude before.
“With all due respect to Bar Refaeli, no one has reached [Gadot’s] level on the world stage. Not to mention, she can act,” Gal Uchovsky, a columnist for Mako, one of the country’s most popular news sites wrote. “She’s bringing us lots of ‘Nachat. People here are really excited.”
Nachat being the Yiddish word for pride and joy. To reflect that pride, Monday saw the Azrieli Towers, the middle eastern country’s tallest skyscrapers, illuminated with messages dedicated to Gadot, celebrating her success with the new film. “We are proud of you, Gal Gadot,” one tower announced. While a second tower featured the words, “Our Wonder Woman.”
“That’s never been done before,” Amit Cotler, a reporter for Ynet, Israel’s leading news site, told TheWrap. “Israel’s love affair with Gal Gadot is reaching fever pitch right now.”
The actress is also well known for having won the Miss Israel pageant in 2004 before serving for two years in the Israel Defense Forces as a physical trainer.
“People really like that about her,” Cotler added. “It plays really well here. The fact that she served in the military is a big deal. She is seen as someone who cares about Israel.”
In Wonder Woman, Gadot stars as Diana Prince. The film set during World War I follows the Amazonian princess after Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), an air force officer crash lands on the island of Themyscira — the home of the Amazons — and informs them of the great war going on in the outside world. Diana finds herself compelled to enter the conflict as she believes can help bring an end to the war.
’Wonder Woman’ hits movie theaters around the world next summer when Gal Gadot returns as the title character in the epic action adventure from director Patty Jenkins. Before she was Wonder Woman, she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, when an American pilot crashes on their shores and tells of a massive conflict raging in the outside world, Diana leaves her home, convinced she can stop the threat. Fighting alongside man in a war to end all wars, Diana will discover her full powers…and her true destiny.
Wonder Woman hits theaters this Friday, June 2, 2017.