Zoe Saldana is flying high. The actress stars in two sci-fi mega-franchises (Star Trek and Avatar), might wind up in another one (Guardians of the Galaxy), and has an array of diverse projects coming up, including the films Nina, Out of the Furnace and Blood Ties. During a recent interview with Saldana, she discussed most of the above – we say most because the news about Guardians of the Galaxy hadn’t broken yet – with the bulk of the conversation devoted to Star Trek Into Darkness, in which she reprises her role as Uhura. Below is part two of our exclusive interview with Saldana, who was chatty and charming as she spoke with us by telephone while relaxing on a couch at her home in Los Angeles.
How much interaction did you have with the newcomers: Alice Eve, Benedict Cumberbatch and Peter Weller?
SALDANA: A lot, because Alice and Ben were on the Enterprise. When they were setting up shots, we were all sitting together and getting to know each other and laughing and really welcoming the newcomers. They acclimated quite nicely and quite rapidly. It was great to have them. I saw more of Alice and Ben than Peter. I don’t have a lot of scenes with Peter. I saw him during rehearsals and then he’d come to set for some off-camera work. I was very impressed with him. Alice was wonderful. It was great to have another woman on set. I love English people because they just have the best humor. So between Alice and Benedict, there were a lot of laughs. Then you add in everyone else – Chris and John and Zach and Karl and Simon and Anton – and it was a very funny set. And J.J. was leading the pack. Everybody is very funny and charming. So we had a blast.
How pleased are you with the film?
SALDANA: It’s amazing. I’m so proud of it. I’m excited by it. I was really taken by it.
What do you hope to see for the next adventure?
SALDANA: Maybe the team will go back to Earth and have a day off. That’d be nice.
You think people will pay $20 to see that in IMAX?
SALDANA: Well, just in the beginning. For the first seven or eight minutes they’re in the middle of their day. It’d be like they’re about the bite into their cheeseburgers and somebody says, “Guys, we’ve gotta go!” And we all go, “OK, we gotta go!” That’d be nice.
J.J. is doing Star Wars. How do you think it might impact Trek moving forward? Also, a lot of people expect Kurtzman or Orci or Burk or someone else in the Bad Robot family will assume the directing reins. Thoughts on that?
SALDANA: I’m extremely proud of him. It’s a dream come true for him. So I’m happy for that. I think that J.J. is a wonderful asset to Star Wars and I would be the first one to go see it when it’s done. Hopefully it’ll be done soon. (laughs). It would be a bummer if he doesn’t come back to do Star Trek again, but he’ll always be overseeing it. And if it’s Bryan or Alex or Bob, these are individuals that I extremely love and respect, and I know they would do an amazing job as well.
You have a great “in” for being part of the next Star Wars film. Would you really go for it?
SALDANA: I mean, who wouldn’t? Are you kidding me? To get to work with a friend that you love and respect, and to get to be in a film you saw you were very, very young, that blew you away, that maybe was one of the reasons why you became an artist. Why not? You’d have to be a moron to say no to that.
When you were promoting Star Trek (2009) and Avatar in 2009, you said you were waiting to see the impact being in such colossal, international projects would have on your life. We see you now on best-dressed lists. If you run out to buy a cup of coffee, someone’s posting photos. We hear stories about whom you’re dating...
SALDANA: There are a couple of things that go along with it that aren’t as comfortable as I would have hoped. The loss of anonymity is definitely something that comes up sometimes, but it hasn’t invaded my life that much. I’ve mostly been able to feel like I can keep my privacy and keep some type of normalcy. I feel for the actors and celebrities out there that don’t have (privacy) and really don’t wish to have (celebrity), but have it because it’s a very painful thing to know that you can’t even go out of your house in sweatpants to go get coffee. That doesn’t happen every day of my life, so I’m very happy for that. And things changed for the better in the sense that my work has been able to be seen by people that I love and respect, and to have their respect means everything.
Let’s talk about your upcoming completed films. Please give us a couple of sentences each about Nina, Blood Ties and Out of the Furnace…
SALDANA: I’m so excited about Nina, that (Nina Simone’s) story is going to be told. People who have been singing “Feeling Good” and “Here Comes the Sun” for so long are finally going to be able to put a face to the voice, and it’s Nina Simone’s. The experience was intense and one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had in my life. I’m looking forward to sharing it with everyone. Blood Ties, I got to work with a very international cast and I got to work in New York with (director) Guillaume Canet. It’s a New York cop movie set in the 1970s. And, for Out of the Furnace I got to work with such an amazing cast (Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe) on such an intense story. To know that (director) Scott Cooper wanted me to join it and be a part of it, I was truly humbled. I enjoyed every minute of it, even though it’s very heavy content.
Lastly, where are things at with Avatar 2? And is the plan still to shoot 2 and 3 back to back?
SALDANA: Jim (Cameron) is finishing up the script. That was as of a couple of months ago, when he and I spoke. So I’m excited, but I want him to take his time because when things are right they’re worth the time. I’ve heard and I truly, truly hope the plan is still to do (2 and 3 back to back), because these are films that are very challenging to make. They take a long time to wait for, to make and to render. Mortality works against us when it comes to things like that.
Click HERE to read part one of our interview with Zoe Saldana.
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