I was pleased to sit with Zoe Saldana to discuss Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, in theaters May 5. Saldana is an admirable actress who is known for portraying strong female leading roles. Her passion to play these characters comes from her wish to leave a mark for young girls. To let them know there is more then chick flick rolls.
Saldana spoke about how Gamora has evolved on this second film. She also shared a little about her kids and a little about her upcoming project coming up.
LRM: Can you tell me about your character for this second one, how she has evolved versus Vol. 1?
Zoe Saldana: Well I feel like in the first one she was very selfish and she had her reasons. She was a runaway, she was trying to get away from something that she just didn’t want to be a part of anymore. In this one she’s turned a new leaf, it’s almost like she has a nurturing aspect to her that is giving you a sense that’ she’s a little more, she’s actually doing the opposite of, she’s becoming selfless and I think it has to do with the guilt that she carries of knowing that she was such a violent and evil person when she was under the grip of her father, Thanos, and she probably inflicted so much pain and fear on to so many people and I think that she has a hard time accepting that, so I think that as she does good moving forward, I think she’ll redeem herself. I think that’s probably the way Gamora thinks.
LRM: Okay, so coming back to Vol. 2 was the transition of going green a little easier?
LRM: The training a little easier?
Saldana: Training was easier because there is not that much hand-on-hand contact, like I wasn’t fighting people, there was just a lot of wire work. There was a lot of flying and jumping and leaping, so that took a little bit of rehearsing, and in the makeup process we did shave an hour, so it went from 5 hours to 4.
LRM: Wow that’s impressive.
Saldana: I know, hopefully in the next one -- if I’m in it -- we’ll manage to shave down to 3 hours, of course that would be so great if we did.
LRM: You’re like, to catch up on my beauty sleep.
Saldana: Oh, my God.
LRM: So, 1 question that I just have to ask, I know you have kids are your kids introduced to your character, do they have doll figures?
Saldana: Oh, my God, they are obsessed with superheroes, and they don’t know the difference between Marvel Comics and the other ones, you know. So they have a little bit of everything and they wear their capes, they wear their masks, they have their dolls, they ask me if I’m related to the Hulk because they know that I play Gamora -- or that mommy becomes Gamora. It’s quite charming, so we’re really enjoying this whole process and supporting them on it, you know they really believe in superheroes.
LRM: So Gamora is definitely one of the favorites?
Saldana: I hope so.
LRM: That would be exciting, so what about all the stunts. I know you said you did some practicing flying wiring, were there any stunt parts that you had to get a double for?
Saldana: Oh yes, we always have a double, because there are just a lot of things that you will have to do that are not going to be safe, and also, you’re an actor, you can become a liability to this film if, God forbid, something happens to you and you probably can’t even do those stunts yourself. So, we always have stunts and we always start getting the first half of the action done, you know when you get up and start running and then when the cameras turn behind, it’s probably that stunt person that is doing it and maybe that’s why they look better (laughs).
LRM: So, I know you seem to play a lot of strong, female characters. What’s the one thing that attracts you the most? I mean I know they’re kickass and anyone would want too, but what’s the one thing that kind of fulfills you to play these strong leading characters?
Saldana: They’re not arm candy.
LRM: That’s a good way to put it.
Saldana: It’s unnatural to me, as an artist, to make a career out of just playing girlfriends. I’m not talking down at it, I don’t find it demeaning, it’s just not for me and I feel like there’s an abundance of that, and I respect so many actresses when they do it, when they’re happy to do it, when they know they have to do it, and I’ve done it before, but I do it for projects that I truly believe in or filmmakers that I truly believe in, but I want to be known by young women like after I’m gone. If there is just one or five little girls out there that they’re going I love movies, is there one action female girl whose movies I can just follow. Because I remember growing up when I didn’t have that in the '80s, I just had Sigourney Weaver and Ellen Ripley, and I had Linda Hamilton and Sarah Connor. Other than that...who else, you know? And that f**king sucked, because I just didn’t want to be a lady and a princess, and I wanted to do other things and I was a rarity amongst a whole bunch of girls, and I want to leave references and options for women behind, so I do take great pride in my path as an artist. I would love to also explore other things as an actor, and get to play other roles but in the meantime I needed to burn this phase, and I’m burning it up. I'm burning it. I’m good, I’m done (laughs).
LRM: Good, we love it. Is there something that you can share that you made, of the projects you have coming up?
Saldana: Yeah, I did an independent movie last fall called I Kill Giants and that was really charming and it’s based on a graphic novel and it’s this Danish director, Anders Walter, and he was really amazing and it’s basically about the story of a little girl trying to cope with her reality, and creating these fictional monsters that she has to fight in her town and I play this therapist that’s at school that's sort of trying to crack that and get into her world and try to reach her and get her to focus and to reach out to us and stuff. and it was quite amazing because it’s an all female cast, and I was the oldest. It’s like a whole bunch of junior high school girls, they are so brilliant and beautiful and I’m the teacher and there’s a mom, and there's a sister. It’s really beautiful.
LRM: Well, we look forward to seeing that for sure, we can speak to you again for that.
LRM: Thank you for your time.
Saldana: Thank you.