How Gal Gadot Transformed Her Body to Play Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot was supertiny back in 2013. (Getty Images)

Gal Gadot joins Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill on the big screen this month in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the actress had a big suit to fill… literally.

Gadot — who was previously known best for her supporting work in the Fast & Furious franchise — plays Wonder Woman in Zack Snyder’s new film, and she had to bulk up for the role. Her small physique was something fans took the time to criticize after she was first cast.

Snyder enlisted trainer Mark Twight to transform Gadot’s thin, model body into one that could physically hold her own onscreen with the boys. That meant gaining weight and adding serious muscle.

The petite actress posed with her co-stars Henry Cavill (left) and Ben Affleck at Comic-Con in 2014. (Photo: Getty Images)

“Her wrist — went all the way up. Her elbow was the thickest part of her arm,” Twight recalled to Vanity Fair about meeting the Israeli-born actress for the first time. He added that he was nervous about whether he could finish in time to meet the production schedule.

Gadot, 30, was equally anxious, telling Twight, “I don’t want to be big and bulky… I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder.”

“The real difficulty is to change habits and to confront the expectations regarding exercise intensity and body image,” Twight told the magazine, saying he put her on an intense eating and training regimen.

The process took nine months — including three months with her, one on one, in Tel Aviv — which he told Muscle & Fitness magazine were “challenging and immensely satisfying.”

“Anytime you present someone with a really radical change, it’s hard to get them to buy in 100% to the idea,” Twight explained. “So we took it in incremental steps. We went from a model to a high jumper, in terms of an athletic look. And then once she was comfortable with that, then we’d go a little bit further.”

The end result of Gadot’s hard work (Photo: DC)

Gadot knew she had a grueling road ahead after she was cast. Last year, she gave an interview addressing the initial criticism over her body.

“They said that I was too skinny, and my boobs were too small,” she told Ynet News. “After they asked me here, in Israel, if I have eating disorders and why am I so skinny — they said my head was too big and my body was like a broomstick — I can take anything. It’s just empty talk. I understand that part of what I’m doing means being exposed. And part of being exposed is being under fire. When I was younger, I would take criticism really hard. But now it mostly amuses me. The true Amazons had one boob so it wouldn’t bother them in their archery. So it’s not going to be like real Amazons. We always try to make everyone happy, but we can’t.”

One year later, Gadot is happy with the results.

“Since I’ve started, I’ve gained about 17 pounds, and it’s all muscle,” she revealed in this month’s issue of Glamour magazine. “I feel so much better now. When you feel strong, it changes everything — your posture, the way you walk. I look at photos from five years ago and think, ‘Whoa, I was too skinny. It’s not cool.’”

And as for the small breasts? She’s still laughing it off: “I realized we can’t please everyone.”

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters on March 25, and look for Gadot’s Wonder Woman spinoff on June 23, 2017.