I’ve had such a blast sharing with you my experience out in Los Angeles for the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Press Junket. Hopefully by now you’ve read my Vin Diesel interview from last week, and my Chris Pratt interview from earlier this week. I tell you though… Disney is too good to us! Not only did we get to interview Groot and Star Lord… but also Gamora! We sat down with Zoe Saldana, who plays assassin Gamora in the film. She couldn’t be more sweet, genuine, and humble. When we were taking our group photo before the interview, she couldn’t contain her excitement and told us how her sister just had a baby three days prior! Of course as mommy (and daddy) bloggers, we were quite happy to hear about the new addition.
First let me say, I absolutely love Gamora in this film. Yes, she has an iffy past… but I just love how tough and determined she is! Very often Zoe plays characters who are not only strong, but smart too! Not only are her characters great models, but Zoe herself is someone in the spotlight that a younger generation of little girls could definitely look up to for empowerment.
At the mention of strong women, Zoe praised the likes of Angelina Jolie, Jessica Biel, and Zoe Bell (a famous stunt woman if you do not recognize her name). She also mention German filmmaker Lexi Alexander who also happens to be a World Champion in both point fighting and karate! She complimented Lexi for showing women they can be anything they want, even if it isn’t considered typical.
Very often in entertainment, women are portrayed as damsels, need males to solve the problem. I absolutely loved when Zoe made a quote about teaching young girls that they don’t have to be “someone’s Princess” or a side character waiting for a man to save the day. Girls can be “the King” too!
Original Photo: JustEnza.com. Edits by me.
I love that Zoe picks and chooses her roles in hopes that they’ll have a beautiful impact on young women. She sees it as selfless. She notes that she is an artist, and while she can only do things for herself, she still wants to make an impact on the world!
What was it like the first time you saw yourself in full makeup?
ZOE: *LAUGHING* When we first tested the costume, they made me wear these contact lenses that just made me look like a lizard! The idea of wearing contacts was fine. Then I heard all these stories… I’m working 6 day weeks. I’m in pretty much a lot of the shots. I thought “Let me just encourage them to not do the contacts in that set!” Then they decided that it was better to not to do contacts because you’re able to sort of then connect more with the audience using your own eyes. Then sometimes I couldn’t put my arms down because if I started to get warm and sweat then the makeup would melt!
How long is the makeup process?
ZOE: It took 4½ to 5 hours, but then I would come to set and I would look good. I can’t complain. When I would get home though there was green everywhere! Like on the pillow and the tub. My dog was green. It was crazy!
What kind of training did you do for your role?
ZOE: I was sort of pondering what I was going to do with Gamora. It was mainly my decision because of James Gunn. There’s something special about him! There’s a confidence in his word that you know he’s going to keep his word as well. He’s going to deliver and I felt really, really good (about the portrayal of Gamora.)
ZOE: I just added those little twists and then I thought well she’s an orphan. She was taken from her planet. Kind of reminds me of The Lost Boys of Sudan. They are children that are taken and forced into a life of crime and violence. Though very deep inside they are good people. Like they were meant for greatness and their path was just completely erased before it’s even begun. I thought “well that’s Gamora.” She’s just trying to give herself a last chance of life to get out. On the surface it is a Marvel movie, and it’s comedy, and it’s all these jokes. But 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.
Were you a fan of the Guardians, Marvel or the comics in general? Did you have any favorites growing up?
ZOE: I would just watch them whenever they were on TV and they were great. I used to watch He-Man and She-Ra, and The Thunder Cats. I loved the Thunder Cats! My sisters and I would fist fight over who’s going to be She-Ra. “I’m She-Ra, no I’m She-Ra!”
In terms of like reading comics, I always had more male friends growing up than girls, but I knew that I was a girl whenever they would come back from that comic store and get that latest issue of whatever it is that they were reading and everything else was dead. You’re like, “You wanna’ do– dude Jimmy, Jimmy.” Oh you know like he’s reading his comics, but I can’t… there’s nothing I can do. He’s like, “Why don’t you read it with him?” I never had an interest for reading it, but I loved watching it. Once it was all done and they did all the work and was able to just turn on the TV or put in a VHS and launch it, it was great.
My nephew was my teacher with Gamora. He was very like, “Do you even know who you’re playing?’ I’m like “Yeah she’s green like you know. She’s Thanos step daughter.” He told me she was taken from planet so and so. She was forced into a life of crime. 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. I just thought, “Oh wow! Like that’s– 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. So I would always ask… and I remember when he met Chris because he came to set. I always take my niece and my nephew them where ever I go. So he walks me to set, and he goes, “So when can I meet Quill?” 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 going to be Quill?” He’s seen like all the old pictures of Chris from like Parks and Recreation. So he hasn’t seen this amazing transformation, this individual. To me that was the most inspiring thing of this whole process, looking at Chris’ commitment to himself. To do what he did for cosmetic reasons, but for health reasons because he’s also a father and just prove to himself that he can do it. He can actually be the superhero! So my nephew sees him and he just stands next to him and goes, “So I’m Jose, what’s your name?” He goes “Hi, hi Jose, I’m Chris.” “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?” My nephew 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.” So anyway he was sort of like my little Guru!
ZOE: About 50/50. Oh baby I’m not going to jump the way Gamora jumps! I’m like, “Well you’re going to jump me from here to here?” It’s like on the 3rd story with nothing but metal below and I’m on a wire. I’m like, “No, no, no. Let Chloe do it.” My stuntwoman, her name is Chloe. She was fabulous. You can actually see her on You Tube. She does a lot of work with staff and she’s an amazing marshal artist and her kicks are amazing. 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. Like 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 it’s just like you really don’t want me on our team because I’m not going to 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. 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 want me in every scene, but I don’t speak in any of them. So what am I going to do? So I’m just going to go there for 6 months, go through 5 hours of make up every day, 6 days a week, to just be like a fly on the wall in every scene?” I’m like, “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. He was like, “Zoe we’re on the same page, like that’s what we’re doing.” … 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 studios that just hire a great director, but give him no power or relevance whatsoever. James really was very outspoken. He was a huge leader in this entire project and Marvel was just very supportive of that.
We asked Zoe what her favorite scene was in the film, but I’ve decided not to share it with you as to not want to spoil the movie! However it was one of my favorite scenes in the movie too, so it was nice to hear it had a similar impact to the actors in the film as it did to us in the audience.
Don’t forget to connect with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY on Facebook and Twitter! Be sure to check out my tutorials for homemade galaxy playdough and for Galactic Space Art both inspired by the film’s upcoming release.
This film hits theaters August 1st!
While I attended an expense paid trip by Disney to the press events for Guardians of the Galaxy, 100 Foot Journey, and ABC Family, all opinions are 100% my own.