Gal Gadot finally responds to ‘Imagine’ video criticism

Josh Marcus
·2-min read
Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman 1984' (YouTube/Warner Bros Pictures)
Gal Gadot in 'Wonder Woman 1984' (YouTube/Warner Bros Pictures)

We no longer need to imagine just what exactly Gal Gadot was thinking when she put together that cringe-tastic video of celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” earlier this year. The Wonder Woman star opened up to Vanity Fair about the project as part of a profile published on Tuesday.

“Sometimes, you know, you try and do a good deed and it’s just not the right good deed,” she told the magazine. “I had nothing but good intentions and it came from the best place, and I just wanted to send light and love to the world.”

In the video, posted on 18 March, just as many people around the world had begun quarantining, Ms Gadot talks about how the virus has acted as a great equaliser.

“This virus has affected the entire world, everyone,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you’re from, we’re all in this together,” she says. Then she and a gaggle of her millionaire celebrity friends—Natalie Portman, Sia, Kristen Wiig, Will Ferrell, Jimmy Fallon—launch a rendition that many considered tone-deaf, both literally and figuratively, given that coronavirus hit poor people the hardest.

The gesture quickly fell flat, with critics finding the spectacle a little too self-indulgent.

“When she sings the opening line — “Imagine there’s no heaven” — she grins at the camera as if she’s about to pick your pocket,” New York Times music writer Jon Caramanica said in a column. “Or like a joyfully sadistic nurse about to administer a gruesome shot. It feels oily. Distressing.”

Comedian Ricky Gervais joined the pile-on.

“You can see in their eye – ‘I could cry at the beauty of my personality, I’m just so beautiful for doing this’ and everyone sees that – we get it,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live in April.

Ms Gadot, who says she was inspired to put the video together after seeing a video of an Italian man playing the song on a trumpet to his quarantined neighbours, understands the reaction but says her heart was in the right place.

“But yeah, I started it, and I can only say that I meant to do something good and pure, and it didn’t transcend,” she added in the interview.

It’s just as well that the actress addressed the whole “Imagine” affair, because now she’s facing a new round of social media criticism, this time for being cast in an upcoming film as Egyptian ruler Cleopatra. Some argue the role should go to an Arab or African actress rather than to Ms Gadot, who is of Israeli and European ancestry. Others have pointed out that Cleopatra was of Greek origin, being a descendant of Ptolemy I Soter, one of Alexander the Great’s generals.

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