Gal Gadot and Alia Bhatt take action to new heights in the new film "Heart of Stone."
In the upcoming Tom Harper-directed adventure, the two actresses bring the thrills as they're seen parachuting off snowy cliffs, jumping out of a helicopter and fighting thousands of feet up in the air, among other wild stunts.
"Every time I think I've reached a bar with my films and the physicality, then comes the next movie," Gadot told "Good Morning America" in an interview conducted in late June, prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike.
In "Heart of Stone," Gadot transforms into Rachel Stone, an unassuming computer tech/undercover operative for a peacekeeping agency who races to stop a hacker from stealing a device called "The Heart," which is described as "the world's most powerful AI" or artificial intelligence, according to Netflix's Tudum.
Acclaimed Bollywood actress Bhatt stars alongside Gadot as Keya Dhawan, a mysterious hacker "whose quest to find and control the Heart threatens global stability," according to Tudum.
"She's after the heart, which is the center of Rachel Stone's universe, what she's trying to protect," Bhatt said.
Training for the film
In the riveting trailer, Gadot takes audiences across the globe as she protects the Heart, which Tudum says can "keep track of anyone's entire online history and then use that data to predict what they might do in the future." The Heart is also designed to "advise on responses to potential global threats."
With so much at stake, Rachel will do anything in her power to keep the Heart out of the wrong hands, even if that means having to fight with Keya in the air or from moving vehicles.
Gadot said training for "Heart of Stone" took months, noting that they had to work with stunt teams.
"Coming into it, it was clear this was going to be an action-packed movie," Gadot said. "You have to train months and months beforehand to make sure you're fit strong enough to do all the stuff we needed to do."
Bhatt, who said "Heart of Stone" was her first action-film, was pregnant at the time of filming. "I was enjoying to be able to say that, 'Oh, I'm doing my first action movie pregnant,'" Bhatt recalled.
Bhatt added that while visual effects also went into creating those suspenseful scenes on screen, most of those action-packed sequences unfolded during filming.
"The real execution happens in that moment," she said. "So, the preparation of course, with certain amount of agility, training, wire work."
Why Gadot was the perfect Rachel Stone
While the film is a thrilling adventure that keeps audiences on their toes, Gadot said Rachel was a different kind of protagonist from her previous action roles.
"She's like a loose cannon, [a] wild woman who has a really great sense of justice and will always follow her heart," she said.
"On the one hand, she's an amazing secret agent who enjoys the thrill of adrenaline. At the same time, she doesn't operate really well within the system," Gadot added. "She finds it a bit difficult to follow the rules and staying in one lane."
Director Harper said Gadot was "so perfect" to play Rachel in the new film.
"With an action movie, you've got to hit the ground running and there's so much of a world to set up, exposition to get through, that you've got to care about people immediately," Harper shared. "And Gal is so effervescent and warm and you just want to spend time with her."
"It's only over the course of the movie, once you're already into it, that you start to unravel who she is and see her character arc," Harper added. "She's just got this great combination of warmth, but also strength and that ability to lead an action movie."
Visualizing the Heart
At the core of "Heart of Stone," is a conversation about technology.
"What I enjoyed most was also the fact that we have technology at the forefront, being this force that is also a different kind of antagonist that maybe we're not physically seeing," Bhatt said, discussing the potential for danger if it "goes into the wrong hands."
Harper said AI became "more and more relevant" as work on the film was happening.
"I think even the last six months, with the [rise] of Chat GPT and other similar programs, it's really come to the fore," Harper said.
To bring the Heart to life, actor Matthias Schweighöfer, who portrays tech specialist Jack of Hearts in the film, said he performed kung fu and tai chi-esque moves to visualize how "The Heart" is operated.
"When we started to prep for the film, it was just an empty room," Schweighöfer said. "We needed to fill [it] with ideas and movements -- and what does that look like? This huge, huge heart, this computer?"
When asked about how the film's portrayal of AI plays into larger social conversations about technology, Harper said that he was "fascinated" by it.
"That's one of the great things about cinema, is that yes, it can be an entertaining, spectacular, action movie, but actually behind that, it touches on some of the core social conversations," he added. "I was really fascinated by this idea that technology is developing so quickly, and how, as we move forward ... we use this as a tool for progress and all the wonderful potential opportunities that it has to offer."
"Heart of Stone" will be available to stream on Netflix starting Aug. 11.