It’s been a while since we’ve seen Zoe Saldaña on screen. This isn’t due to a lack of roles, but because she’s usually playing a character covered in green make-up or she’s playing a Na’vi. As Avatar’s Neytiri and Guardians Of The Galaxy’s Gamora, Saldaña has adapted to our modern, CGI-filled blockbuster landscape better than just about anyone, and has turned into something of an Andy Serkis in her own right. However, with that, comes a whole host of challenges.
Per Entertainment Weekly, Saldaña says that there are “different kinds of [sacrifices]” to playing her two most famous characters—sorry Star Trek, we’re not sure what’s going on with you.
“They demand a different kind of sacrifice, but they stand very unique on their own subjective grounds,” Saldaña told EW. “Gamora is a much more traditional approach where you wake up at 3 o’clock in the morning and you go through the whole prosthetic process. And then kind of once you see yourself and you feel Gamora on you, obviously, you transform, you know?”
“And when it comes to Neytiri, it’s more of a practice. It’s months of training, not just rehearsing with your director, but training with movement coaches, and traveling to the jungle and getting to feel what it’s like to make your own food with all the elements that are around you. And once you use all of that, you do bring it into what we call the volume, which is the set, when you shoot under performance-capture.”
Saldaña has been playing Neytiri longer than Christian Bale played Batman, longer than Pierce Brosnan played Bond, and longer than Robert Downey Jr. played Iron Man. Yet, we’ve only been privy to one of those performances thus far. We’ll finally get another chance to see her act on Pandora in Avatar: The Way Of Water this December.