From Star Trek to Stardom
Hollywood actress Zoe Saldana gives an inside scoop on the beloved franchise plus the Avatar sequels to come
Zoe Saldana is yet another who made the leap to fame after being cast in the reboot of sci-fi film franchise Star Trek in 2009.
The 38-year-old US actress trained as a dancer in her youth but quickly transitioned to forgettable parts in TV shows and movies - until director J J Abrams offered her the role of the USS Enterprise's communications officer, Lieutenant Uhura.
That same year, Canadian film-maker James Cameron offered her the female lead of Na'vi warrior Neytiri in another sci-fi blockbuster, Avatar.
She expects to appear in the highly anticipated sequels as well, but Cameron takes his time making his movies.
Saldana's star rose even higher with 2014's superhero flick Guardians Of The Galaxy as yet another action heroine, alien babe Gamora.
For now, there is Star Trek Beyond for the friendly mum of 20-month-old twin boys to publicise at the Four Seasons hotel in Beverly Hills.
Currently showing here, the sequel sees the USS Enterprise destroyed in a crash on an alien planet and its closely-knit crew scattered, leaving Uhura marooned with Sulu (John Cho) and captured by alien commander Krall (Idris Elba).
ACTION-PACKED: Zoe Saldana in Star Trek Beyond (left) as USS Enterprise's Lieutenant Uhura. PHOTO: UIP
What does the Star Trek franchise mean to you?
I like Star Trek not as a fan who watched the show, but as a person who knows the history behind it and the reasoning for its conception, and that is the part that makes me so proud to be here representing it.
This man (creator Gene Roddenberry) created an unrealistic world in space just to deliver a very simple message of peace and unity. And it is a man who dedicated his life to the service because he was a cop before he became a writer and he still cared about what he wanted his world to be while he was alive and living in it. And this utopian-like policy that he created has inspired a lot of people.
Now the people who are going to see Star Trek are not just the original fans, but the younger ones too.
And what does Star Trek Beyond primarily cover?
It's about teamwork, unity, love. It's about literally being unconditionally firm in your belief of peace. Even if it's at the cost of your own life, peace is the only answer. I'm sorry I am cheesy about it...
They're not going out to rescue other people, they're fighting for their lives and the lives of their family, so they're compromised.
And that's what I like - the fact that the stakes are at the highest they've ever been (out of) all three instalments.
Let's get the Avatar update out of the way. Why are the follow-ups taking so long?
Art sometimes demands time. I'm not anybody's spokesperson. I wish I had information about what goes on in the higher departments of big studios handling large-scale movies. And when it comes to James Cameron, I'm pretty sure if there's one person who wants to start shooting, I think it's him because he's also putting his life on hold and he has a family and everything. But I did read the next two scripts and I think it's worth the wait.
You have a thriving career, young children and you do a lot of charity work. How do you manage your time?
My husband's (Italian artist Marco Perego) and my plates are full, but it's because we are making an active decision to still stay present in the life that we had before starting a family. I feel like that's something that children will take most out of, seeing you live your life and fighting for the things that you love and speaking up and doing all these things.
What's motherhood like for you so far?
It's beautiful to wake up every morning trying to be a more responsible person because you're looking after innocent lives. We just don't want to be in their way. We want to be able to assist them, we're not just directing our children.
So, as parents, we're very respectful individuals, we were raised to be that way. They're not earning our respect; we're earning theirs.
And this world is so new, so we don't like getting in their way. We want them to explore and we just want to make sure they don't get any boo-boos.
But it's a lot of work. I would like to have just one night of sleep, I just want eight perfect hours. I haven't had that in like two years, it's crazy.