Gal Gadot has earned strong reviews for her starring role in Warner Bros.’ latest superhero epic, Wonder Woman, drawing praise for her athleticism, charisma, and chemistry with co-star Chris Pine. Director Patty Jenkins has been one of Gadot’s biggest advocates, praising her star up and and down in promotional materials for the film. But, as it turns out, that wasn’t always the case.
Per an interview Jenkins gave to Playboy this week, Jenkins was initially unhappy when she learned that the studio had selected Gadot without her input (for an appearance in Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice), despite the fact that she’d been in talks to direct the Wonder Woman project for some time. “I remember when I read in the news that Wonder Woman had been cast and my heart sank,” Jenkins said. “I had been talking to the studio for so long about doing it and I was like well ‘That’s that.’ I’m sure we wouldn’t have made the same choice.” Despite her initial skepticism, though—noting that casting the Israeli Gadot, and not a more “all-American” actress, clashed with her childhood conceptions of the character—she quickly came around.
“Frankly, I think they did a better job than I could have, because I don’t know that I would have scoured the earth as hard to find her,” Jenkins said, concluding that Gadot is “The greatest.” You can read the full interview—which also touches on the “missing colors” in the current dark and gritty superhero world, and Jenkins’ efforts to block out wider criticisms of the DC Cinematic Universe while making the film—right here. Meanwhile, Wonder Woman continues to be a hit at the box office, having already made $272 million in its first weeks in theaters.