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Before 'Wonder Woman' star Gal Gadot had to carry a $150 million blockbuster, she nearly quit acting

Gal Gadot
Harrison Hill/Los Angeles Times | Getty Images
Gal Gadot

She served two years in the Israeli Defense Force and competed in high-stakes beauty pageants, but it was Hollywood that truly tested "Wonder Woman" Gal Gadot's resilience.

"This profession, the rejection, dude — it's tough," Gadot tells host Jimmy Fallon during an appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show."

Before booking an audition for the movie, which has grossed over $300 million worldwide and set records since opening just over a week ago, the actress and one-time Miss Israel considered making a film project in her native country her last.

"I had so many 'almosts,' and another camera test, and it was almost mine, and another one and another one," she says to Fallon. "I was telling my husband, 'I'm not sure how long I can take it.'"

Then, during a trip to Los Angeles, she got a call from "Wonder Woman" co-writer Zack Snyder, who wanted her to audition for a "secret role." After Gadot returned to Israel, Snyder called her with the big reveal.

"Zack calls me two days later and says, 'I don't know if you have this character in Israel, if she's big or not, but did you ever hear of Wonder Woman?'"

Gadot, shocked, reinvested herself in the idea of landing another film role.

She learned she had gotten the part via a voicemail from her agent that she listened to on a plane that had just landed in Los Angeles after a 15-hour flight from Tel Aviv.

In perhaps the ultimate example of a woman doing the same job as a man but, figuratively, "backwards, and in heels," Gadot wielded Wonder Woman's weapons while wearing a skimpy outfit and platform boots, and she did so in re-shoots while five months pregnant with her second child.

The actress tells Fallon that most of those scenes were shot in close-up, but for wide shots, a green triangular cloth was placed over her belly so that it could be edited in post-production.

"On close-up I looked very much like Wonder Woman," says Gadot. "On wide shots I looked very funny, like Wonder Woman pregnant with Kermit the Frog."

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