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Zoe Saldana on ‘Colombiana’

Zoe Saldana explains why she always wanted to work with Luc Besson, the origin of her little dance and how far along those Avatar sequels are.

Colombiana is the first action movie Zoe Saldana has shot since Avatar became the biggest movie of all time. From writer Luc Besson and directed by his protégé Olivier Megaton, Colombiana stars Saldana as Cataleya, a Colombian refugee who grows up into a trained assassin, looking for revenge on the drug lords who killed her family. Saldana gave a press conference for her latest film and I got a chance to ask her lots of questions, including an update on the Avatar sequels.


CraveOnline: Did you have a lot of offers for tough but kicking action heroines after Avatar?

Zoe Saldana: Actually, [there were], but this one came in the Luc Besson package. If there’s anything that I’ve always said about myself, it’s that to me it’s much more important for me to get to work with filmmakers that I’ve grown up loving and admiring. Luc Besson is definitely one of the names that was in my bucket list, especially for the iconic femme fatale characters that he’s created, because they’re strong on the exterior but they’re so fragile and broken on the inside. I just thought that was a beautiful comparison of someone that lives in complete turmoil and conflict. There were offers, so Luc Besson took priority.

 

CraveOnline: If anyone writes anything bad about Colombiana, will you kick their butt?

Zoe Saldana: No, [Laughs] if they do, they’re entitled to their own opinion.

 

CraveOnline: What does it mean to you to be the face and the name on the poster for the first time in your career?

Zoe Saldana: It feels good but for some reason I have a chip that maybe I work this way so that I can protect myself, I don’t really think about things that way. I just want to be a part of great stories whether I’m part of an amazing ensemble cast or I’m leading it or the antagonist or whatever. I just want to be part of great stories that are told and for them to be relevant. So this one definitely would have a lot of pressure. I feel like everybody that is a number one on the call sheet feels a pressure, but you can’t let that be the force that guides you.

 

CraveOnline: Was the dance you do when you come home to your apartment in the script, or did you bring that to the film?

Zoe Saldana: That dance moment was Olivier and I that really wanted to incorporate that. When someone’s alone in the privacy of their home, you’re raw. You’re being yourself and to see her throughout the first [part of the movie], she barely speaks as a little girl. Then barely speaks the first time you see her in that car scene and when she goes to jail, just very little words here and there. She’s playing a character, so once you see her come home and she knows that everything is fine, she’s checked every single corner, she unwinds. There was a mandala. That was what we wanted to create near that wall. She goes up to that mandala thing. It’s sort of like a map that she’s had but she doesn’t want to write a map because if anybody were to break in, they’d immediately know what her next step is. So she just creates it into a mandala, something that keeps going round and round and hopefully she’ll get to the center one day. So those were all things that Olivier and I just did, whether people catch it or not. We still did it for us.

 

CraveOnline: How often does James Cameron talk to you about his ideas for Avatar 2 and 3?

Zoe Saldana: Last time I saw him was a couple months ago for dinner and he seems super excited. I think he’s much more concerned to have Sigourney, Sam and I read it once it’s done because he wants to hear our thoughts. I already know I’m going to love it, it’s going to be beautiful, it’s going to be great, but he’s excited. He just wants to get the script to where it needs to be before he can say, “Okay, this is worthy of shooting.” He’s such a perfectionist. That’s the good thing.