This may come as a surprise, but celebrities are human and have feelings, too. Respectable bloggers have more of an interest in the human side of a person and being able to connect to them. We also have an interest in finding ways that our audiences can relate to them. We're not into breaking a story or acting like the Papparazzi.
You may know her as Neytiri from Avatar or Nyota Uhura from Star Trek. Maybe you saw her in “Six Degrees” as Regina. Either way, the very sweet, soft spoken, and humble Zoe Saldana was so excited to share with us that she had become an Auntie just 3 short days before meeting with us when she walked up to us in the hall way for a group photo. What better way to connect to a bunch of mom and dad bloggers than by leading the conversation with babies?!
Zoe Saldana gave us 15 minutes of her undivided attention to talk about being a role model, gender stereotypes, being more than eye candy, and being green. She's an empowering role model to young women everywhere who intentionally and deliberately chooses roles that won't make her appear as simply just another pretty face on set.
Meet Zoe Saldana
On being a role model for young girls
Zoe: What it means to 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 stepping up.
It’s not like, “Oh, it’s out of the books; I can’t even think about doing that?” It’s almost like when you tell little girls, “Oh you're she.” “I’m a Princess. I’m a Princess.” “Did you know that you can also be the King?” And they would never think of being the King. “You can be the King. You don’t have to be someone’s Princess.”
The first time you saw yourself in full makeup what was that like for you?
Zoe: At first we tested with these contact lenses that just made me look like a lizard. I’m like, “Do look like a lizard?” [LAUGHS] Even though the idea of wearing contacts was fine, I just heard all these stories. For 5 months, I’m working 6 day weeks. I’m in a lot of the shots. Let me just encourage them to not do the contacts in that set.
And then they decided that it was better to not to do contacts because you're able to connect more with your own eyes. For some reason contact lenses it’s not as penetrable as your own eyes. It was interesting.
And sometimes I couldn’t put my arms down ‘cause if I started to get warm and sweat then the the makeup would melt and every take they would come and tweak it.
How long is the make-up process?
Zoe: 4½ to 5 hours, but then I would come to set and I would look good. Dave and I would look good. Karen wanted to shave her head. I can’t complain. I can only do that with my Makeup Artist in my trailer or to my husband when I get home.
It was green everywhere. On the pillow and the tub. My dog was green. [LAUGHS] It was crazy.
On the role of Gamora
Zoe: I pull out of everything that I see in life. When I was pondering that I was gonna do Gamora, my decision came because of James Gunn. There’s just something about him. You talk to him and you just go, “He’s special. 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. And 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?” And my husband’s an artist, and we were meeting with a colleague of his who was sharing with us her latest work.
She’s not yet ready to share with the world, but it was this thing that she shot on 65 frames per second of this Spanish Bull Fighter fighting in front of like this Picasso painting. And 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, and she’s a Bull Fighter. She’s not gonna be a Marshal 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 fend. She’s gonna be a very graceful sword fighter. Very, very ‘Alantiqua' like we say [in Spanish].”
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. And I thought, “Well, that’s Gamora, and she’s just trying to give herself a last chance of life to get out.” Even though on the surface it is a Marvel movie, and it’s comedy.
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.
My nephew was my teacher with Gamora. He was very like, “Do you even know who you're playing?’ [LAUGHS] “Yeah she’s green. She’s thinner, she’s thin as his step daughter.” And 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.” [LAUGHS] But she has a great sense of justice.
And I just thought, “Oh wow! 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 struggle. I remember he met Chris because 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? Whoever’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?” He’s seen like all the old pictures of Chris from like Parks and Recreation, but 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 what he did for cosmetic reasons, but for health reasons, because he’s also a father and just to 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?” “Hi Jose, I’m Chris.” “This is Zoe, my aunt.” “Yeah that’s great.” “So who are you playing? Are you playing Star-Lord?” And Chris goes, “Yeah, buddy I think I am you know. Is that okay?”
And he turns around and goes, “Yes!” [LAUGHS] And then Chris goes, “Oh my God, I got the ‘yes' from your nephew.” I’m like, “That’s a great thing.”
What was your favorite scene to film?
Zoe: I think it was the scene when Groot is making that nest; I couldn’t stop crying that day. And it was awful because like my makeup kept smearing, but Eric James was sort of getting emotional beacuse 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 see the animatic, and then we just see his face. We were only working with a substitute actor that was there to help us. He would wear a hat with Groot’s face on top to give us sort of a reference of height and everything.
And 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.” I wanna' be able to call Groot every day. Like, “Groot, like what are you doing? You wanna' go hang out?” [LAUGHS] And he goes, “We are Groot.” I just kept crying. So to me that’s, that’s one of my favorite scenes.
So how much of the stunts were you vs. a double?
Zoe: 50/50. Oh baby I’m not gonna jump the way Gamora jumps. I’m like, “Well you're jump– you're gonna jump me from here to here.” And we’re on a 4th story. And I’m gonna' jump from-and there’s nothing- nothing but metal, and so she’s on a wire. I’m like, “No, no, no. Let Chloe do it.”
And it was great. Her name is Chloe, my name is Zoe. She was fabulous. You can actually see her on YouTube. She does a lot of work with staff, and she’s an amazing Marshal Artist, and her kicks are amazing. So she wears contacts and stuff. So brilliant. I knew that Gamora was in good hands.
How do you choose what projects you get involved in?
Zoe: The script, the filmmaker, and my character. My character needs to feel relevant. If I just feel like she’s just there, and she doesn’t participate in the problem solving of plots and things like that then you really don’t want me on our team because I’m not gonna be happy.
I’ve been in those situations where as an individual, as an artist, as a woman, you don’t feel relevant, and it doesn’t feel good. It feels really shitty. So I spoke to James, and I read the script and liked the idea, of the concept of doing a Marvel movie, of working with him. But I was not that excited about the script from Gamora's standpoint.
I’m like you, “You want me in every scene, but I don’t speak in any of them. So what am I gonna' do? I’m just gonna' go there for 6 months, go through 5 hours of make up every day, 6 days a week, to just be a fly on the wall in every scene? And just look at all the guys while they’re cracking jokes. And before any lunch break, you're gonna' do my close up?” I’m like, “No baby that’s not gonna' happen.” And I’m like, “You need to- we need to work that- we need to work on this.” And this woman you want her in every scene, if she knows what this orb is, and she’s the one that knows who the collector is, and she’s the one that ties all these people together, then you need to give her a couple of lines every now and then.”
And he was like, “Zoe we’re on the same page; that’s what we’re doing.” I didn't even wanna get on the plane, ‘cause it’s been done before. I’ve been in that situation where you get on the plane, thinking it’s gonna' be done by the time you land; it’s gonna' be all perfect.
And you get there, and you're completely on the other side of the world, and the script hasn’t changed a single bit. And now you're stuck, you signed the contract, and you have to work. I promised myself I was never gonna do that to myself. But James is different. He kept his word, he was very outspoken, and Marvel really had such a respect for him.
It didn't feel to me like one of those big ass studios that just hire you know a great Director, but gives him no power or relevance whatsoever. James really, really was very outspoken, was a huge leader in this entire project, and Marvel was just very supportive of that.
I wanted to have that experience of having a big studio and have faith in studios again. They can actually support their artist and not just be a machine, a money making machine. And Marvel and Disney were great with this movie.
Thank you guys. You guys are awesome.This is so good.
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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens in theaters everywhere on August 1, 2014
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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.
Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” which first appeared in comic books in Marvel Super-Heroes, Issue #18 (Jan. 1969), stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, featuring Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael, and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.
James Gunn is the director of the film with Kevin Feige, p.g.a., producing. Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Alan Fine, and Stan Lee serve as executive producers. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman and releases in U.S. theaters on August 1, 2014.Disclaimer: I was selected to attend an all-expense paid trip to LA courtesy of Disney to experience these incredible events, along with a group of 24 other bloggers. All opinions, excitement, and smiles are my own.