Filmmaker Joss Whedon refuted actor Gal Gadot's allegations that he threatened her career, claiming that there was no conflict between Gal and him on the sets of Justice League. Joss has said that the controversy happened because of a misunderstanding due to language barrier.
Joss, who directed Gal in the 2017 film Justice League, addressed her 2021 claims in a new interview with New York Magazine. Gal had, in a previous interview, said that "he threatened my career and said that if I do something, he will make sure my career is miserable," reported People magazine.
"I don't threaten people. Who does that?" Joss said. The director claimed that the Israeli actor, who speaks fluent English, misunderstood him. "English is not her first language, and I tend to be annoyingly flowery in my speech," Joss told the magazine.
The director acknowledged that they argued over cutting a scene and claimed he jokingly told her that she "would have to tie him to a railroad track and do it over his dead body," the outlet explained. "Then I was told that I had said something about her dead body and tying her to the railroad track," he alleged.
However, the Gal disagreed with his recollection. "I understood perfectly," Gal told the magazine in an email.
The 57-year-old filmmaker reflected on his time taking over the directing duties for the 2017 film. Warner Bros. brought Joss in to take over for director Zack Snyder, who stepped down after his daughter died by suicide, and the Avengers director worked in many rewrites and 40 days of reshoots, which caused tension on the set.
In April 2021, The Hollywood Reporter outlined how Joss allegedly "threatened to harm Gal's career and disparaged Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins" after the 36-year-old actor brought up creative concerns. Joss reportedly told her to "shut up and say the lines," threatening to "make her look incredibly stupid in this movie."
When asked about her relationship with the filmmaker, Gal told THR, "I had my issues with [Joss] and Warner Bros. handled it in a timely manner."
The Wonder Woman' actor wasn't the only one who took issue with Joss. The filmmaker denied actor Ray Fisher's claims that he abused his power and lightened the 34-year-old actor's skin tone. Joss said none of Ray's allegations were "either true or merited discussing." He described Ray's actions as "a malevolent force," adding, "We're talking about a bad actor in both senses."
Ray, who played Cyborg in Justice League, said on Twitter in July 2020 that Whedon "was gross, abusive, unprofessional, and completely unacceptable" during reshoots on the film.
Ray Fisher tweets about Joss Weadon.
In an October 2020 interview with Forbes, Ray further alleged that "race was just one of the issues with the reshoot process." He said at the time, "There were massive blowups, threats, coercion, taunting, unsafe work conditions, belittling and gaslighting like you wouldn't believe."
Ray went on to say last year in a feature for The Hollywood Reporter that his own creative input was continually not taken seriously by producer and DC Films co-chairman Geoff Johns and other leadership, including Joss.
Joss denied Ray's claims in the new interview, saying he trimmed Cyborg's role in the film because his plot "logically made no sense" and he wasn't a fan of Fisher's acting in it. He also denied digital lightening specifically of Ray's skin tone, telling the magazine that he brightened everything in postproduction.
Ray tweeted, "Looks like Joss Whedon got to direct an endgame after all." He added, "Rather than address all of the lies and buffoonery today--I will be celebrating the legacy of Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Tomorrow the work continues. #MLKDay A>E."
Ray Fisher tweets about Joss Whedon.
The problems went beyond just the cast members. According to Us Weekly, an anonymous crew member claimed that Joss once paused the shoot to announce that he'd never worked with "a ruder group of people."
Another unnamed source on set noted that Snyder encouraged improvisation while Joss wanted the actors to be word-perfect, causing even more tension on the sets of the film.