This interview was conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike.
“Heart of Stone is the most action I’ve ever done in a film,” shares Gal Gadot. That says a lot, given the name she’s made for herself within the genre. Having found her start in Hollywood as Gisele Yashar in the Fast & Furious franchise, Gadot catapulted to superstardom for her role as Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe.
In Heart of Stone, she takes on the role of international intelligence agent Rachel Stone. Working for covert peacekeeping organisation Charter, she embarks on a dangerous mission to prevent its most valuable data-tracking weapon from falling into the hands of an enemy hacker. Meant to kickstart a series, Heart of Stone is set to be the female-led equivalent of big-budget action franchises like James Bond and Mission: Impossible.
“I’m such a huge fan of these big action films—James Bond, Mission: Impossible, Bourne Identity and Die Hard. These are movies that I’ve always loved watching, and I’ve always wanted to be in one. After the success of Wonder Woman, I gained the confidence to start developing such a movie for myself,” notes Gadot.
Taking us through the journey of creating Heart of Stone, the actress shares what she loves the most about action—and what it means to her to be a woman fronting the traditionally male-led genre.
What stood out to you about the character of Rachel Stone?
Rachel is a woman of many contradictions. On one hand, she’s an incredible secret agent that enjoys the thrill and the adrenaline. At the same time, she doesn’t work well within the system, because she finds it hard to follow the rules. She’s like a loose cannon with a really strong sense of justice. I just love that there are so many colours and different layers to her that I really wanted to portray.
What was it like on set?
We had a great time. We filmed this movie in many different locations around the world—from Iceland, Italy, the UK, LA, Morocco and Portugal. We travelled together, and it really felt like we were family. We’re all from different parts of the world. I’m from Israel, Jamie Dornan’s from Ireland, Sophie Okonedo’s from the UK, Matthias Schweighöfer is from Germany, and Alia Bhatt is from India. The set was a melting pot of people from different cultures who worked amazingly well together. It was a lot of fun—and there was a lot of laughter.
You’ve made a name for yourself within the world of action. What is it about the genre that draws you to it?
The thrill, the suspense, the scope and—of course—the action. I am going to continue making movies within different genres, but this is one that I feel super comfortable with. I like the fact that these movies offer perfect escapism. I can go on a journey for two hours, and feel like I’ve been around the world, on an emotional roller coaster.
You’ve done your fair share of action sequences over the years. Has your preparation process changed? Does it get easier as you pick up tips and tricks along the way?
In a way, it does get easier. Action scenes are much more familiar now. I know what I’m doing, because I’ve been through all these extreme training programmes before. But it doesn’t matter how used you get to these things. It’s always a lot of work. It’s never easy.
With action franchises often still being led by men, what does it mean to you to be a woman who’s leading the genre?
I’m a mother of three girls, and it’s important for me that they’re able to see themselves on the big screen, and see how strong and how independent they can be. It’s so essential that we show that women are strong as well—and that doesn’t go against the strength that men have, it just means that women can have it too. I’m very happy to be at the forefront of it, and I hope to continue doing what I love doing so much.
How do your daughters react to your films?
They’re very proud, and very sweet. With the films that I’m making, most of the time, I have to shoot the movie for six to eight months. We all travel together as a family, and my daughters become part of the film. They’ll come to set, they’ll know the director, they’ll hand out sides. They are a part of everything that I do, and they feel valued for it.
Are you also a thrill seeker in real life?
I think I have enough of that in my work. In my personal life, I enjoy the peacefulness and quietness of just being with family and doing normal things.
What are you most excited for viewers to see with this movie?
I’m excited because I think Heart of Stone has all the right elements for a good movie. It contains the action, the twists and turns, the suspense, the characters and relationships, the drama and the humour. There are so many fun moments in the film that I hope everyone will enjoy.
Watch Heart of Stone on Netflix now.