The “Wonder Woman” actor is profiled for InStyle’s February issue and, in the accompanying interview, addresses the backlash she received in 2020 after the video ― which featured appearances by Amy Adams, Zoë Kravitz, James Marsden, Mark Ruffalo and other stars ― went viral.
Though Gadot hoped “Imagine” would comfort fans as COVID-19 sent much of the world into lockdown, the video got an icy reception from critics. “Peak cringe,” proclaimed NBC News, while The New York Times called it “an empty and profoundly awkward gesture.” Many people on social media suggested the participating stars could have better served those suffering from the effects of the pandemic through donations or other charitable acts.
In her chat with InStyle, Gadot said she now understands why “Imagine” didn’t quite land as intended.
“The pandemic was in Europe and Israel before it came here [to the U.S.] in the same way,” she explained. “I was seeing where everything was headed. But [the video] was premature. It wasn’t the right timing, and it wasn’t the right thing. It was in poor taste.”
Watch “Imagine” below.
The Israeli actor previously poked fun at the video during an appearance at Elle’s 2021 Women in Hollywood gala last fall. Footage of the event, which was held in October, showed the actor playfully crooning a few bars of “Imagine” upon taking the stage, drawing a chorus of laughter from the crowd.
Reflecting on that appearance, Gadot said she hoped the semi-impromptu musical moment proved that she wasn’t hung up on the controversy.
“It just felt right, and I don’t take myself too seriously,” she said. “All pure intentions, but sometimes you don’t hit the bull’s-eye, right? I felt like I wanted to take the air out of it, so that [event] was a delightful opportunity to do that.”
The Queen of the Nile’s life story has appeared on the big screen several times ― most notably in 1963, when she was controversially portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor. Still, Gadot told InStyle the new film would be uniquely suited to modern audiences.
“We’re going to show not just how sexy and appealing she was, but how strategic and smart, and how much impact she had and still has on the world we’re living in today,” she said. “I’ve watched all the Cleopatra movies throughout history, but I feel like we’re telling the story the world needs to hear now.”