Zoe Saldana plays Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy. She is first perceived to be an enemy but we quickly find out that she is one of the good guys.
Zoe was quite clear with us – when she first read the script: “I spoke to James and I read the script and liked the idea of doing a Marvel movie and working with him. But I was not that excited about the script from Gamora’s standpoint.” She told Director James Gunn that she was not interested in being a pretty character in the background. She had done that in the early part of her career, she needed more of a challenge now, and she wanted to represent women better.
She shared her conversation with James: “this woman, you want her in every scene. Well, 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.”
Zoe spoke about having gone through this before, she talks to the director, he says he will change things, and then you fly half way around the world to find out that nothing has changed. “And now you’re stuck, you signed the contract and you have to work and I promised myself I was never gonna do that again. But there were some– James is different. He kept his word, he was very outspoken and Marvel really had such a respect for him.” And clearly the script was changed as we saw, Zoe/Gamora was a strong female character in the movie!
Zoe Saldana has played aliens and futuristic heroines before. She wanted to bring something different to this role. The challenge was to make it different from the action roles she had done before. She happened to be watching a bull fight and was studying how in fact the bull is running to his death. “And the way this man (the bullfighter) is dancing and it’s this seduction for the Bull in order to make the Bull just basically run to his death.” Gamora is the Bullfighter, not a martial artist, not a conventional super hero, but rather “She’s going to be a very graceful sword fighter.” Zoe worked hard to make this character different than the other strong female characters she has portrayed in the past. It was inspiring to hear her process!
Of course we tackled her skin color and how long she was in the make up chair. She said she tried to never sweat because that would cause the make up to run and then that meant more time getting it reapplied. She was already spending 4 1/2 – 5 hours a day in makeup! She said they tried contact lenses as well but it just made her look like a lizard! She preferred to have the audience connect with her eyes. She did say it was tough to complain because Karen Gillan went bald for her role, so that put things in perspective!
And the best part of the interview was Zoe talking about strong female role models. “you can be the King. You don’t have to be someone’s Princess.” She is very happy that she gets to join a group of strong female actresses who are changing how women are portrayed in a way that empowers today’s new generation of girls.
Disclosure: Disney invited me on this press trip and paid all of my expenses. No other compensation was received. All opinions are always 100% my own and honest.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Opens 8/1/14! That’s Tomorrow!