From Wonder Woman to Rachel Stone: Gal Gadot weighs in on her badass characters | Inquirer Entertainment

From Wonder Woman to Rachel Stone: Gal Gadot weighs in on her badass characters

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:20 AM August 07, 2023

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in “Heart of Stone” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Gal Gadot as Rachel Stone in “Heart of Stone” —PHOTOS COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Whether she’s playing Diana Prince (“Wonder Woman”), Sarah Black (“Red Notice”) or Gisele Yashar (“Fast & Furious”), Gal Gadot always manages to make complex fight scenes and gravity-defying stunts look easy and convincing.

But as double agent Rachel Stone in Netflix’s action-packed film “Heart of Stone,” which premieres on Friday, the 38-year-old former soldier and beauty queen channels how viewers would imagine an ideal spy should be: imposing, gorgeous, sophisticated and yes, lethal. So scoot over, Mr. Bond and Mr. Bourne!


Helmed by Tom Harper, “Heart of Stone” follows the deadly exploits of “inexperienced” MI6 operative Rachel Stone (Gal) who is assigned to a seasoned team led by Parker (Jamie Dornan).


Unknown to her colleagues in the UK’s intelligence service, however, there’s more to Rachel than meets the eye. In fact, she is a topnotch field agent working undercover for the Charter, a covert peacekeeping organization—secret even from other spies—which uses cutting-edge technology to neutralize techno bullies and other global threats.

When an MI6 routine mission is derailed by mysterious hacker Keya Dhawan (Alia Bhatt) and exposes her cover, Rachel’s two lives and secret identity are exposed, leaving her and her fellow agents vulnerable to unspeakable dangers.

As she races to protect the Charter and strives to beat the odds, Rachel’s humanity just might be her biggest asset—and the world’s last hope against a different kind of terror!

We had spoken to Gal in a couple of interviews before this, and she was consistently delightful and charming. This chat, intended to promote “Heart of Stone” and conducted in June—more than two weeks before the actors’ strike in Hollywood began on July 14—is no exception.

For instance, in a tightly arranged roundtable chat two years ago, Gal politely but firmly asked to extend the interview to give more journalists their fair share of time with her. But we’re digressing.

Not easy

For “Heart of Stone,” the actress said that looking “convincing” in fight scenes isn’t as easy as it seems. When asked what she’s most mindful of when she’s doing an actioner, she said that while training is a major part of the preparation, sleep is just as important.


She explained, “Physically, I had a workout plan and my diet was very specific. I also tried to sleep as much as I could because, you know, I’m a mother of three children, so it’s not like I can just sleep in or go to bed really early. But I try to restore my energy as much as I can. Because once the trains leaves the station, it’ll go nonstop (laughs).

“Mentally, I tried to meditate… I use the Headspace app a lot, so I took short, small breaks, just to clear my mind of all the ‘noise’ for a few minutes.”

Speaking of Bond and Bourne, Gal said she didn’t grow up aspiring to beat up bad guys onscreen.

“I never imagined I’d become an action star,” she said, beaming. “It isn’t something I aspired to do—I didn’t even plan on becoming an actress—but that’s an entirely different story altogether.

Alia Bhatt

Alia Bhatt

“As for my inspiration for Rachel stone, it wasn’t just one. But I must say that many films of this genre had been made so well and brilliantly—I was a big fan of a lot of them. It’s really the type of movies that I myself enjoy watching.

“At the same time, I wanted to make a film that doesn’t just offer something fresh and new and thrilling, but is at the same time very relatable, grounded and exciting. And I hope that’s what we managed to do.”

The movie, Gal pointed out, isn’t just all-action. “Compared to ‘Wonder Woman’ or ‘Red Notice,’ I think the biggest difference is in the tone. This one is much more grounded, raw, gritty and serious—and it takes place in the real world.”

More than any specific fight scene, the 5-foot-10 tall actress said that it’s the physicality of the whole thing that she found truly grueling.

“Coming into the shoot, we all knew that ‘Heart of Stone’ was going to be action-packed, so we’ve had months and months of preparation—we worked out, trained with the stunt team on all the different fight choreography. It was really full-on!

6 locations

“But we also felt lucky because we shot all those action sequences in over six different locations, including Iceland, Italy, the UK, Los Angeles in the US, Portugal and Morocco. When you film in Iceland or in the mountains of Italy to do all the badass stuff and it’s freezing cold in the middle of the night, that’s double the degree of difficulty, you know what I mean?

“Then, you have to fight in the desert or by the ocean, where you’re all wet and sandy and windy at five in the morning, you know that it’s just something you have to overcome and push through.”

Since Gal is also one of the film’s producers, did she have any input into the action scenes?

“First of all, unlike other movies of the action genre, this isn’t based on comic books, so we really had to start from scratch,” she recalled. “Screenwriter Greg Rucka assembled this group of brilliant writers to create the building blocks, themes, set pieces and overall concept of the film, so there was a lot of time and hard work put into this. And honestly, I loved all of their ideas!

Jamie Dornan

Jamie Dornan

“My only note for them was to always write from the female point of view. We also told them to be as original and fresh as they possibly could—don’t imitate anything! Like, without giving spoilers away, when Rachel goes up to ‘a place up in the sky,’ I wanted to make sure that it was physically plausible for people to do it… because this isn’t a superhero film. We wanted to keep even the action grounded and real.”

Rachel’s troubled past

When we asked Gal to talk a little more about Rachel’s troubled past—which is vividly referenced in one of the production’s more emotional moments—and how it influenced her character’s decisions as an adult, the actress said, “That’s a really good question! However it’s something I can’t discuss just yet because if we get lucky and are allowed to make a follow-up, that’s something we want to tackle for the next one.”

But it was our next question that really took Gal aback: In her view, how would Rachel Stone measure up to Gal’s other memorable screen characters, like Wonder Woman and Gisele and the Bishop/Sarah in Netflix’s “Red Notice”? Does Rachel stand a chance if she fights the others?

Gal said, “You know, every time I film a project, I want it to be fresh and different. I want to bring something new for viewers to get entertained by. I think Rachel is much more real and relatable… because you can connect to her. You can tell she’s been through some rough times.

“Rachel is also more grounded. She loves mac and cheese. Hmm, I’m trying to remember what your other question was…”

We answered, “What happens if Rachel finds herself in a four-way fight with your other characters? Who do you think has the upper hand?”

“Oh, that’s not fair!” Gal quipped, laughing. “I’ll have an identity crisis—that would be so weird (laughs). First of all, Diana Prince is semigoddess, so no matter what Rachel will do to Wonder Woman, she’s going to stay alive—which is great.

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“Sarah is more calculated, whereas Rachel is more of a loose cannon. She’s wilder but has really strong instincts. But, come on, they’re all like my babies and they’re awesome! Like, how lucky am I that I get to play all these amazing women? I love them all (laughs).” INQ


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TAGS: Entertainment, Gal Gadot

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