When Zoe Saldana walks into a room everyone knows it. She has a comannding prescene that quiets the room. You want to hear what this woman has to say because you know she will be speaking from her heart. She was full of poise and grace AND she knows how to kick ass. She brought all that and more to her role as Gamora and gives young girls a superhero to look up to. One that has been though sadness and hurt in her life and comes back to take control. She’s inspiring for women of all ages. She sat down with a bit before her press conference to chat about her role in Guardian of the Galaxy:
Q: You are such a role model for girls.
Zoe: That… and especially because of that. Because (of) what it’s gonna’ mean. What it means to like my niece, what it means to young women. To be one of the few, I wish there were more women like Angelina Jolie, Jessica Biel, myself, Zoe Bell that are kind and just stepping up.
There’s also this German filmmaker that, that did this film Punisher. She’s like a karate black belt, like an Olympic medalist and she’s a Director now and. She’s a bad ass. I just feel like it’s important because you’re giving women the information that this is something that they can entertain doing.
It’s not like, “Oh it’s out of the books, like I can’t even think about doing that?” It’s almost like when you tell “Oh you’re a Princess. I’m a Princess. Did you know that you can also be the King?” They would never think of being the King. It’s like you can be the King. You don’t have to be someone’s Princess.
When I made these decisions to play this role it’s selfless. ‘Cause doing these roles it’s a very selfless thing. I’m an Artist and I can only do things for me, but to know that it’s gonna’ have such a beautiful impact on young women…. It’s the selfless part of me.
Q : The first time you saw yourself in full makeup what was that like for you?
Zoe: [LAUGHS] At first we tested with these contact lenses that just made me look like a lizard. I’m like do I look like a lizard? Even though the idea of wearing contacts was fine. Then I just heard all these stories of like you know wait a minute, 5 months. I’m working 6 day weeks. I’m in pretty much a lot of the shots. Let me just encourage them to not do the contacts in that set. Then they decided that it was better to not to do contacts because with the eyes you’re, you’re able to sort of then connect more with your own eyes. For some reason contact lenses it’s just not as penetrable as your own eyes. It was interesting. Sometimes I couldn’t put my arms down ‘cause if I started to get warm and sweat then the makeup would melt and every take they would come and tweak.
Q: How long is the makeup process?
Zoe: 4½ to 5 hours, but then I would come to set and I would look good. You know Dave and I would look good. Karen had to shave her head. You know like I can’t complain. I can only do that like with my Makeup Artist was there like in my trailer.
It was green everywhere. Like on the pillow and the tub. My dog was green. [LAUGHS] It was crazy.
Q: What kind of training did you do for your role?
Zoe: I pull out of the everything that I see in life and so when I said– “I’m sort of pondering that I was gonna’ do Gomorrah, like should I?” It was mainly my decision came because of James Gunn. There’s just something about him that, that I
just– I don’t know. You talk to him and you just go, “He’s, he’s special. Like he knows what he’s doing. There’s a confidence in his word that you know he’s gonna’ keep his word as well. He’s going to deliver and it felt really, really good. That said I was like, “Okay how am I gonna’ make this character different from all the other action characters that I’ve done before?”
My husband’s an Artist and we were meeting with a colleague of his who was sharing with us her latest work. It’s not yet ready to share to the world, but it was like this thing that she shot on 65 frames per second of this Spanish Bull Fighter fighting in front of like this Picasso painting. She shoots him one shot all slow motion. The way this man is dancing and it’s this after seduction for the Bull in order to make the Bull just basically run to his death.
I thought that’s Gamora. She’s a Bull Fighter. She’s not gonna’ be like a Martial Artist. You know she’s not gonna’ land like all the characters and all the action figures. Like all the Marvel comics. It’s not gonna’ be that. She’s gonna’ be a very graceful sword fighter. So I just kinda’ added those little twists and then I thought well she’s an orphan. She was taken from her planet. Kind of reminding me of The Lost Boys of Sudan. It’s children that taken and forced into a life of crime and violence and deep, deep they’re good people. They were meant for greatness and their path was just completely erased before it’s even begun. I thought well that’s Gomorrah and she’s just trying to give herself a last chance of life to get out. Even though like on the surface it is a Marvel movie, and it’s comedy, and it’s this and it’s all these jokes. I can’t come from that place. It’s unnatural to me. I have to come from a very real place and she was a real person. Whatever happens to her, whatever she’s been through is real. Therefore, that’s something that I have to think about.
And once I toss all these ideas to James he’s like, “Yup, yup, yup.” [LAUGHS] Yeah, yeah, yeah. I like that, I like that. So we were in.
Q : Going into this role did you know about the gardens? And if not, were you a fan of Marvel or comics in general? Did you have any favorites growing up?
Zoe: I mean I would just watch them whenever they were on TV and they were great. I used to watch He-Man and She-Ra and The Thunder Cats. I loved the Thunder Cats. My sisters and I– I mean I’m talking about we would fist fight over who’s gonna’ be She-Ra. “I’m She-Ra, no I’m She-Ra!” Oh many it’s just a disaster, but in terms of like reading it I always had more male friends growing up than girls… I knew that I was a girl whenever they would come back from that comic store and get that latest issue of whatever it is that they were reading and everything else was dead. And you’re like, “You wanna’ do– dude Jimmy, Jimmy.” Oh you know he’s reading his comics.I never had an interest for reading it, but I loved watching it. Once it was all done and they did all the work and was able to just turn on the TV or put a VHS and launch it like it was great.
My nephew was my teacher with Gamora. He was very like, “Do you even know who you’re playing?’ [LAUGHS] Like, “Yeah she’s green like you know. She’s thinner, she’s Thanos’ step daughter.” He told me she was taken from planet so and so. She was forced into a life of crime. And I’m like, “Yeah she’s bad ass.” He goes, “She’s not a bad ass, she’s an assassin.” She has a great sense of justice. ‘Cause he has a little list.
And I just thought, “Oh wow! Like that’s– she’s so interesting because she’s so conflicted. She’s actually a good person, but she was raised to be a bully.” So that itself is my, is my struggle. I remember he met Chris ‘cause he came to set. I always take them where ever I go, my niece and my nephew, and he walks me to set. And he goes, “So when can I meet Quill? Who’s playing Quill?” And I’m like, “His name is Chris Pratt. He comes from this show.” It doesn’t ring a bell, it does not ring a bell. I show him a picture, it doesn’t ring a bell. He goes, “That’s gonna’ be Quill?” Like — he’s seen like all the old pictures of, of Chris from like Parks and Recreation.
He hasn’t seen this amazing transformation, this individual, that to me was the most inspiring thing of this whole process was looking at Chris’ commitment to himself. To not do, do what he did for cosmetic reasons, but for health reasons ‘because he’s also a father and just prove to himself that he can do it. That he can actually be the superhero. My nephew sees him and he just stands next to him and goes, “So I’m Jose, what’s your name?” Like, “Hi, hi Jose, I’m Chris. This is Zoe my Aunt.” “Yeah that’s great.” So who are you playing? Are you playing uh Star Lord?” And Chris goes, “Yeah buddy I think I am you know. Is that okay?”
He goes and turns around and goes, “Yes!” and then Chris goes, “Oh my God I got the yes from your nephew.” I’m like, “That’s a great, that’s a great thing.” So anyway he was sort of like my little Guru.
Q: What was your favorite scene to actually film?
Zoe: I think it was the scene when Groot is making sort of that nest for us I couldn’t stop crying that day. It was awful because like my makeup kept smearing, but James was really emotional they kept playing the theme song they were gonna’ play in that scene as well. The Composer was sort of finishing it up and he wanted us to kind of be in the moment and he’s describing the moment to us. We were only working with, with you know a substitute Actor, Chris Young, that was there to help us. He would wear a hat with Groot’s face on top to give us sort of like a reference of height and everything. Just seeing Groot’s face, it was just the most beautiful thing. I just thought my God I just wanna’ have you as a friend. Like I wanna’ be able to call Groot every day. Like, “Groot like what are you doing? You wanna’ go hang out?” [LAUGHS] I know. So to me that’s one of my favorite scenes.
Like I said Zoe is a doll and an amazing actress. You will love her heart and her actions skills in Guardians of the Galaxy. Want to see her in action? Check out the featureette below:
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Hits theaters Aug. 1
***Disclosure: I attended #GuardiansOfTheGalaxyEvent . My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney and myself. All opinions are 100% mine. Pictures by Disney***