Filmmaker Joss Whedon says that Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot may have misunderstood him during an argument on the set of 2017’s Justice League, after Gadot and other actors have accused him of bullying and threats.
‘English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech,’ Whedon, 57, said in an interview with Vulture published Monday.
The director, who also created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and co-wrote Toy Story, said Gadot misheard a joke that if she wanted to get rid of a scene, she’d have to tie him down to a railroad track and do it over his dead body.
‘Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track,’ he said.
Gadot, 36, responded to Whedon’s theory by saying: ‘I understood perfectly.’
Last year, the Israel-born actress said that Whedon had ‘threatened’ her career and told her that he’d make sure it would be ‘miserable.’
This came after other actors, including fellow Justice League star Ray Fisher and actresses Charisma Carpenter and Michelle Trachtenberg from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, came forward with their own claims of misconduct by Whedon. Carpenter alleges Whedon bullied her on set and called her fat while she was pregnant, while Trachtenberg alleged that the director was not allowed to be alone with her on set.
Meanwhile, Fisher suggested that Whedon had told editors to lighten the skin of an actor of color in post and branded him ‘abusive’.
Whedon has denied Carpenter, Trachtenberg and Fisher’s claims. He also slammed the latter’s acting, much of which he cut from the film, telling Vulture that the actor is a ‘malevolent force. We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.’
Filmmaker and showrunner Joss Whedon, above in 2019, told Vulture that Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot may have misunderstood him on set because ‘English is not her first language’
Gadot, 36, responded to Whedon’s theory by saying: ‘I understood perfectly’
Last year, the Israeli-born actress said Whedon ‘threatened’ her career and told her that he’d make sure it would be ‘miserable.’ Above, the Justice League cast in London in November 2017
Gadot first claimed Whedon had threatened her in May, as translated by the Twitter account Discussing Film.
‘He threatened my career and told me that if I did something, he’ll make sure my career will be miserable and I just took care of it on the spot,’ Gadot said.
A source told the Hollywood Reporter that Gadot had ‘multiple concerns with the revised version of the film, including issues about her character being more aggressive than her character in Wonder Woman.’
‘She wanted to make the character flow from one movie to the next,’ the source said.
An unnamed actress on Angel, another one of Whedon’s shows, told Vulture that Gadot’s story sounded familiar. She said that when her agent pushed for her to get a raise, Whedon called her at home and said she was ‘never going to work for him, or 20th Century Fox, again.’
‘Wow, he’s still using that line,’ she reportedly said when she read Gadot’s quote.
Whedon wrote Justice League and took over as director in 2016, overseeing 40 days of reshoots after Zack Snyder stepped down following the suicide of his 20-year-old daughter
Justice League actor Ray Fisher called Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew ‘gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable’ in 2020
Whedon’s behavior triggered an investigation from the studio. WarnerMedia said it looked into Fisher’s complaints had concluded and ‘remedial action’ had been taken
Gadot first hinted that something was amiss on the set of Justice League in a December 2020 interview with the LA Times, in which she said her experience working with Whedon ‘wasn’t the best one.’
‘But I took care of it there and when it happened,’ she said. ‘I took it to the higher-ups and they took care of it.’
The film was thrown into disarray in 2016 after director Zack Snyder stepped down following the suicide of his 20-year-old daughter Autumn Snyder.
Whedon, who wrote the film, took over as director and oversaw 40 days of reshoots, but the directors’ visions never aligned correctly, with Vulture claiming that Snyder’s god-like version of superheroes clashed with Whedon’s irony-laden approach.
Justice League was a commercial and critical failure, not even breaking even at the box office and scoring a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
Whedon told the outlet that the studio, Warner Bros., had lost faith in Snyder’s vision and wanted him to take control. A representative denied his account. Snyder has since released his own cut of the movie on HBO Max.
Fisher, who plays Cyborg in the film, first raised concerns over Whedon in June 2020, posting a video to Twitter of himself previously singing the director’s praises, writing: ‘I’d like to take a moment to forcefully retract every bit of this statement.’
Fisher followed it up on July 1, tweeting: ‘Joss Whedon’s on-set treatment of the cast and crew of Justice League was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable. He was enabled, in many ways, by Geoff Johns and Jon Berg.’
The Baltimore-born actor then revealed that the studio had launched an independent investigation after ‘five weeks of interviews’ with cast and crew.
Fisher had an extensive interview in The Hollywood Reporter about the ordeal. He slammed the studio’s handling of the allegations and claimed that some executives are not fit for their positions.
The studio’s parent company, WarnerMedia, said that its investigation into Fisher’s complaints had concluded and ‘remedial action’ had been taken.
It did not elaborate and Fisher has since demanded that the results of the investigation be released publicly.
Speaking about what he claims was a cover-up by studio executives regarding the investigation, Fisher said: ‘I don’t believe some of these people are fit for positions of leadership.
‘I don’t want them excommunicated from Hollywood, but I don’t think they should be in charge of the hiring and firing of other people.’
He said he feels he has been able to make a point over the last year.
‘If I can’t get accountability… at least I can make people aware of who they’re dealing with.’
In the Vulture interview, Whedon says he cut many of Fisher’s scenes from the film because he thought they didn’t make sense and the acting was bad.
He said he discussed cutting down scenes with Fisher extensively, and explained Fisher’s motives for coming forward with criticism as: ‘We’re talking about a malevolent force. We’re talking about a bad actor in both senses.’
Charisma Carpenter has also called out Whedon for his behavior on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which she starred as Cordelia Chase.
Charisma Carpenter (left in 2019 and right in Buffy in 199) called out Whedon for his behavior on Buffy The Vampire Slayer in which she starred as Cordelia Chase
‘Joss Whedon abused his power on numerous occasions while working together on the sets of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel,’ she wrote on Twitter.
‘The disturbing incidents triggered a chronic physical condition from which I still suffer. It is with a beating, heavy heart that I say I coped in isolation and, at times, destructively.’
Carpenter said Whedon found his alleged misconduct ‘amusing,’ according to the Hollywood Reporter.
She said he called her ‘fat’ in front of the cast and crew when she was pregnant and asked if she was ‘going to keep it.’
‘He was mean and biting, disparaging about others openly, and often played favorites,’ she wrote.
The show’s titular star, Sarah Michelle Gellar, later posted a statement in support.
Michelle Trachtenberg claimed Whedon, the creator of Buffy, was ‘not allowed in a room alone’ with her during filming. She is pictured right with the show’s star, Sarah Michelle Gellar
‘While I am proud to have my name associated with Buffy Summers, I don’t want to be forever associated with the name Joss Whedon. I am more focused on raising my family and surviving a pandemic currently, so I will not be making any further statements at this time. but I stand with all survivors of abuse and am proud of them for speaking out.’
Later, actress Michelle Trachtenberg claimed Whedon was ‘not allowed in a room alone’ with her during filming – days after her co-stars spoke out about his alleged bullying and abuse of power.
Trachtenberg, now 36, was 14 when she was cast on the show as Gellar’s little sister Dawn Summers in 2000.
Other top-billed Buffy stars that have supported Carpenter and Trachtenberg include Elisha Duzku, Amber Benson, and Emma Caulfield.