Q&A

ac­tor

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents - In­ter­view by ROBERT PIPER Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 is in cin­e­mas na­tion­wide on April 25.

Zoe Sal­dana talks sci-fi and be­ing a strong woman in a house full of blokes.

You starred in Avatar, one of the high­est-gross­ing movies in history, but the film’s di­rec­tor, James Cameron, has quite a rep­u­ta­tion on sets (al­legedly nail-gun­ning in­ap­pro­pri­ately ring­ing mo­bile phones to a wall, for ex­am­ple). What was your ex­pe­ri­ence? Work­ing with Jim was amaz­ing. I feel he’s mis­un­der­stood. He’s con­tin­ued to evolve, and the fact that he’s such a per­fec­tion­ist, so re­lent­less and so imag­i­na­tive is the rea­son he’s giv­ing us such amaz­ing sto­ries. So get­ting to work with him, it’s like work­ing with that teacher who is su­per-tough, but is prob­a­bly the per­son who teaches you lessons you ap­ply for the rest of your life. When you first read the Avatar screen­play, did you have any idea that it was go­ing to be as suc­cess­ful as it was? I couldn’t un­der­stand it [laughs]. I think in Span­ish and then I think in English, so I read a highly tech­ni­cal script with an amaz­ing story – it was like 200 and some­thing pages long – and they held me cap­tive in an of­fice all af­ter­noon, and I just kept read­ing ev­ery page two or three times over be­cause I didn’t un­der­stand the world. Then the door opens at around five o’clock in the af­ter­noon – I’ve been there since noon – and it’s James Cameron, and he’s dis­sect­ing my face and I’m in shock. He says, “Do you wanna come in to my of­fice and meet your­self?” He showed me a sculp­ture of Neytiri [Sal­dana’s Avatar char­ac­ter] and it was love at first sight. A part of me knew [it would be suc­cess­ful]. I mean it’s JAMES CAMERON, you know? He’s the cre­ator of The Ter­mi­na­tor and Ti­tanic. And I’m a sci-fi buff; I love Aliens, I love The Ter­mi­na­tor – Sarah Con­nor and Ellen Ri­p­ley were the only ac­tion hero­ines I could iden­tify with grow­ing up. So to work with him… I just knew I was go­ing to be a part of some­thing spe­cial. Your ca­reer has lit­er­ally been out of this world. Apart from Avatar, you’ve also starred in the sci-fi block­buster Star Trek and are repris­ing your role in Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2. What do you find so ap­peal­ing about the genre? I get to imag­ine the unimag­in­able. I’m al­ways in awe of writ­ers, di­rec­tors and ac­tors who are able to pull off a world we’ve never seen – I love work­ing with peo­ple who let their imag­i­na­tions go. Plus, you get to play char­ac­ters who defy grav­ity. I like that. It makes me feel su­per­hu­man be­cause, ob­vi­ously, it’s been brought to my at­ten­tion con­tin­u­ously since I was born that I’m not a con­ven­tional per­son be­cause of the colour of my skin or my gen­der or my cul­tural back­ground. So I think sci­ence fic­tion has given me the abil­ity as an artist to be colour­blind, and gen­der-blind, and to imag­ine and rein­vent my­self and be the chameleon ac­tors are sup­posed to be.

“James Cameron is su­per-tough, but he teaches you lessons you ap­ply for the rest of your life”

Your Guardians Of The Galaxy char­ac­ter, Gamora, has green skin – is it easy be­ing green? Let me tell you, it’s su­per-fun. It’s not fun putting it on, be­cause it’s time-con­sum­ing. And be­fore I had chil­dren, what­ever ex­tra time you have when you’re not work­ing, you’re sleep­ing, or drink­ing, or par­ty­ing – you have no re­spon­si­bil­ity for any­one’s life. But now I have to an­swer to three lit­tle guys and a hus­band – as soon as I come home from work, I’m work­ing till ev­ery­one’s asleep, you know? And I love it. It’s just that some­times you re­alise your body can’t keep up with you any­more. What was it like work­ing with Aussie ac­tor and re­cent Stel­lar cover star El­iz­a­beth De­bicki in the GOTG se­quel? She was ab­so­lutely phe­nom­e­nal. I only had two days of work with her and I was in awe. First of all, she’s strik­ingly beau­ti­ful, she’s so tall and they painted her com­pletely in gold – she’s just strik­ing. I couldn’t stop star­ing at her. Is your GOTG co-star Chris Pratt as funny on set as he seems? Yes, he is. And he’s ac­tu­ally a de­cent hu­man be­ing. This man is all about checks and bal­ances, and I like peo­ple who go on that way, who are hu­man and al­ways try­ing to be bet­ter and try­ing to be nice. He has a nat­u­ral knack for com­edy – I ask him all the time, “Are you and Anna [Faris, Pratt’s wife] al­ways crack­ing jokes and mak­ing up lines?” He’s like, “All the time!” and I’m like, “That must be a re­ally happy home.” You re­cently gave birth to your third son, Zen – what’s it like to be so out­num­bered by blokes? It’s funny – peo­ple tell me this all the time, “You have a house full of boys.” I’m ex­cited, I’m cu­ri­ous, I’m ner­vous, but I’m ac­cept­ing this chal­lenge. I come from a fam­ily of women, of ma­tri­archs, and we’ve sur­vived many things. We’ve learnt. We’ve over­come. We’ve achieved. I’m just ex­cited about this ad­ven­ture and get­ting to ex­plore the op­po­site sex from the in­cep­tion. The mo­ment I found out I was preg­nant with twin boys [Cy and Bowie, now two years old], I thought I was em­pa­thetic to­wards men [al­ready, but] the em­pa­thy that grew in me and the cu­rios­ity to get to know men more is in­fi­nite.

``i come from a fam­ily of ma­tri­archs and we´ve sur­vived many things´´

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