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Gal Gadot enjoys exploring her dark side.
The Wonder Woman actress stars as the Evil Queen in the upcoming live-action re-imagining of Disney’s Snow White, with West Side Story‘s Rachel Zegler in the title role. At the D23 Expo on Friday, the costars told PEOPLE about working together and “modernizing” the animated classic for today’s audiences.
And Gadot, 37, shares why she reveled in the chance to play a villain.
“I wanted to make sure that we keep her delightful and delicious, and we understand what makes her tick. Then the evilness is interesting, and not just flat,” she says.
“For me,” adds Gadot, “it was making sure the Queen is not just evil for the sake of being evil. There is a complexity. Between the two characters, it’s like a mother-daughter relationship in a weird way. It’s what happens to a woman when she feels like she’s not relevant anymore, what can come out of her.”
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While her character’s look has yet to be revealed, Gadot teases that she managed to spook other on set when dressed in her “heavy as hell” costume.
“Just to be able to be that character and feel what it makes other people feel,” she explains. “Usually I make people talk to me, open and comfortable. With this one, I truly felt people were intimidated by me.”
“Yeah. It’s very intimidating,” agrees Zegler, 21. “And it was also the black lipstick, it was the nails, it was the lashes.”
“Everything was very, not aggressive, but it was very intimidating. But to be that character just feels great, because you feel like it’s effective in the story,” adds Gadot, who says it was “enjoyable” to play a fairy tale villain and “go bigger, to be more theatrical, to speak through your body, and to do all those things.”
Corey Nickols/Getty for IMDb
The costars kept it light between takes, though — sometimes even singing and dancing to Grease tunes together. (Zegler says she was “was absolutely Danny” in those duets while Gadot “was Sandy.”)
“We danced a lot,” recalls Zegler, as Gadot adds, “And we laughed a lot. At the end of the day, neither of us is the type of actor that, when it’s cut we just go to our trailers and we wait for our turns again. We all stayed and it was just a wonderful, commune type of atmosphere on set. When you have this good chemistry between everybody it really shows onscreen.”
Snow White debuts in 2024.
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