“Gadot, who was so effective in the Fast & Furious franchise and the dirty-cop thriller Triple 9, is even more intriguing as the Amazon warrior,” PEOPLE’s Alynda Wheat wrote in her review of the film, which also stars Henry Cavill as Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman.
When the Zack Snyder-directed movie hits theaters on Friday, you’ll want to be very familiar with the 30-year-old actress playing the lasso-of-truth-wielding Amazon princess because this only just the beginning for her. Not only is Gadot, 30, returning in the upcoming Justice League movie, but she’s also headlining her own stand-alone Wonder Woman movie, due out in 2017.
Here are five things you need to know about Gadot.
1. She really knows how to kick butt.
Gadot served in the Israeli army for two years, working as a fitness instructor. When F&F director and producer Justin Lin learned that, he changed her character’s backstory to add in that she was in the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. “[He] really liked that I was in the Israeli military and he wanted to use my knowledge of weapons,” she said in a 2011 interview.
2. She’s a former Miss Israel.
She competed in the Miss Universe pageant in 2004, and appeared in a controversial photo shoot for Maxim magazine featuring sexy women of the Israeli army, which the ministry of tourism hoped would bring more visitors to the country.
She “rebelled” when she competed for Miss Universe because she didn’t want to win again.
“I was afraid I might get picked again,” she told Glamour. “I showed up late. I came without gowns. They tell you to come to breakfast in a gown. I was like, ‘No way am I having breakfast in a gown!’ Who needs to wear an evening gown at 10:30 a.m.”
3. She loves motorbikes.
The 5’9″ star rides a bike in the F&F films, reportedly owns a Ducati and shared a video of herself from Fast Five along with the caption “Riding the Ducati Streetfighter in the streets of Rio was more than AWESOME!”
4. She’s a mom.
Gadot has a daughter named Alma, 4, with husband Yaron Versano. Her daughter is one of the reasons she’s proud to take on the role of Wonder Woman.
“[Alma] adores princesses. At the same time, she will tell me the princess is so weak, she falls asleep, and the prince will come and kiss her and save, and he is the hero. So I am so happy to be the one who is going to tell the Wonder Woman story,” she told reporters at a recent press junket. “It is so important for girls and boys to have a female, strong, superhero to look up to.”
Although she knows it’s good for her daughter to see her working and chasing her dreams, she still struggles with being away from her. “The Jewish guilt I feel about being a working mom is the hardest thing,” she told Glamour, admitting that she’s getting better at dealing with it.
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5. She didn’t know she was auditioning for the role of Wonder Woman
Gadot didn’t find out she was auditioning for the role of Wonder Woman until after her initial try-out, when director Zack Snyder called her before she was supposed to do a screen test with Affleck and asked if she knew who Wonder Woman was
“I think I went dead for a few seconds, came back to life, and then tried to use my best voice to casually say, ‘Yeah,’ ” she told reporters at a press junket in L.A.
She says the camera test with the Argo director went great, but then she had to wait.
“It was torture,” she said. “I literally went through seven stages of grief.”
• With reporting by MIA McNIECE