Zoe Saldana is Hollywood’s go-to for the biggest action-heavy science fiction parts, with her breakout role as Nyota Uhura in the Star Trek reboot and Neytiri in James Cameron’s groundbreaking Avatar franchise (which has four sequels on the way). She’s continues on that sci-fi path as Gamora, one of the most deadliest warriors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a lead in Guardians of the Galaxy and reprises the part this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
And like Star Trek and Avatar have had sequels or have many more on the way, this is still just the beginning for Saldana’s part in the MCU. She’ll be back for Avengers: Infinity War next year, and a few years later, for Guardians of the Galaxy 3.
We had the opportunity to chat with Zoe Saldana on the set of both GOTG 1 and 2, and at the press junkets for each, most recently sitting down with her to pick up where the conversation last left off – on the evolving approach to portraying Gamora, where Gamora’s path will lead in Infinity War, and what she can tell us about Avatar 2.
Gamora is one of the most deadliest members of the Guardians of the Galaxy. How do you balance that lethality with making her so likable?
Zoe Saldana: [laughs] I think I was aiming for audiences to have empathy, to sympathize with the fact that I am surrounded by morons 24/7 that I adore and I can’t get rid of because they are the closest to a family that I will ever have and I can’t choose the family that I am with. But, God, they are so frustrating and annoying. So, I feel like that is the way, that I would tap in and out of that frequency. I also think that she has a great deal of heart and she cares a lot about doing right. And I don’t know if it’s because of a guilt that she is carrying and she is unwilling to forgive herself for things that she did in her past or she just naturally is that careful of a person.
Now speaking of family, the sister rivalry is taken to a whole new level in Volume 2. Do you think that Gamora and Nebula finally have come to an understanding?
Zoe Saldana: I think so. It’s hard for me to deal with it because I am one of three sisters and I’m a middle child, so this was super sensitive for me and I am very grateful that James Gunn just felt it was important to shed light on this relationship between these siblings. Also, there is a great deal of anger and pain that is happening, that is causing their relationship to be so strained and it is coming from a direction that Gamora is going to have to just deal with. So, yeah, it was painful, but I was happy that we did it.
What is next for Gamora and what are we going to see her do in Avengers: Infinity War? Where would you like to see her go in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3?
Zoe Saldana: You know, I don’t know because she feels to me like the one that is kind of tapping into some kind of resolution in her life. [laughs]
That is very true.
Zoe Saldana: You know, I don’t know. Everyone else seems so immature and green and kind of lost, but in the like most found way possible. And Gamora kind of found her calling, so I don’t know what James Gunn may add to her. I certainly think that she has probably a lot more layers that we probably need to discover about her. But, what was your question again? [laughs]
Well, you pretty much answered it.
Zoe Saldana: In Infinity Wars if Thanos is the enemy of the universe right now and is the threat, then it would make sense for us to explore his evilness by what he has done to his offspring, his kids. So, you know, I hope we get to explore that because he’s very bad.
Very menacing. Which Avenger are you most excited to share the screen with?
Zoe Saldana: I was going to say Captain America because I love Chris Evans to death because my kids love Cacca Mecca, that’s what they say, they say Cacca Mecca and every day we have to wake up and we have to play the soundtrack of Captain America every frickin’ day. So, I would love to see Captain America. Also because his abilities are super awesome like the Hulk.
Interesting. Anything you can tell me about Avatar 2?
Zoe Saldana: We haven’t shot it yet. Anything I can tell you about Avatar 2, 3, 4, and 5 is that we are going to start this summer, late summer, and it’s probably going to go all the way through early next year with shooting and I’m really excited about it.
I know you’ve worked with two great directors – James Gunn and James Cameron. Can you tell me about comparing the two…
Zoe Saldana: It would be impossible. Comparing them, yes, for good things, for great things. They are capable of conceiving very simple stories that are all heart and making them super creative. They have the capacity to imagine the unimaginable because space is something that none of us have ever seen, I mean, very few. And, yet, the fact that these filmmakers are able to paint something so beautiful and entertaining and aesthetically amusing for us that keep us curious and make us always want to revisit that sense of wonder lets you know that they are special. So, I feel very blessed to know that I’ve worked with a lot of special directions and that we all have our silver lining in science fiction.
Set to the all-new sonic backdrop of Awesome Mixtape #2, Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 continues the team’s adventures as they traverse the outer reaches of the cosmos. The Guardians must fight to keep their newfound family together as they unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s true parentage. Old foes become new allies and fan-favorite characters from the classic comics will come to our heroes’ aid as the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is written and directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Baby Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, with Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. Kevin Feige is producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee are the executive producers.