Monday, May 26, 2008

Zoe Saldana Talks Star Trek interviewed Zoe Saldana about playing Uhura in the upcoming Star Trek movie:

Were you a Star Trek fan before the movie?
I did watch a couple of episodes. I followed J.J.'s advice. He said, "If I have to advise you guys at all, I would advise you not to watch [Star Trek]. Just inform yourself of the whole concept of Star Trek, if you're not already a Trekkie or fan. I don't want you to cloud whatever contribution you guys can make yourselves to the role that you are jumping into." I thought that was very encouraging. And then I met Nichelle Nichols and she practically gave me the same advice. So I thought that I needed to make the important aspects about Uhura a priority.

Well, out of the episodes that you did you watch, what were your favorites?
Definitely the episode with Abraham Lincoln [The Savage Curtain] and the episode where Kirk and Uhura have that kiss [Plato's Stepchildren], because of what that kiss represented at the time as well. I spoke to Nichelle about it. She talked about how that work was very dear to her and how they had no idea how big it was going to be. Back then they had no idea that Star Trek was going to be what it is now. They were just artists doing a show that was putting money their pockets, as artists they were working, and they were very grateful to be doing that. She also said as artists, you always live way ahead of your time, so it wasn't a big deal for her. They were aware of what the world was like, but they didn't know it was going to stir up so much.

Where did you build your character from? Did you pull stuff from the script?
Reference pictures, speaking to Nichelle Nichols, talking a lot to J.J. After I met Zach Quinto and Chris Pine, that changed a lot, talking to them. For some reason's Zach's Spock and Chris' Kirk brought out my Uhura. The conversations and sharing the knowledge of Star Trek, it was all really good. And I saw all the physical things that were important about her that the fans need. It was a mix of all of that.

Speaking about what the fans want, what about Nichelle's voice? It's legendary did you work on recreating that at all?
The one thing I can tell you is that I know in my heart that the fans are not going to be disappointed. When they see Star Trek they are going to see all of the characters that they've been in love with. The way the plot is laid out, it's not going to compromise the whole legend of Star Trek. If I did imitate the voice I think J.J. and Nichelle managed to get it out of me with out making me feel like I was stepping on anyone's shoes. Maybe it came out here and there.

Did you meet ahead of time with Chris and Zach ahead of time to build a relationship since the movie is about how everyone met and came together?
Everything went so fast we really didn't have much time and I was shooting Avatar [a little more on that later] and they sort of overlapped. But when we started working, the chemistry was inevitable. It was a great set. Chris and Zach could not have been better cast. I can't even tell you if I met the real Zach or the real Chris, because they were so committed to their character.

Do you feel the pressure form fans and media to deliver?
I think maybe that's why J.J. didn't want us to watch every single episode and go that extensively into the research. He knew that there would be a point when we would confuse the responsibility and turn it into pressure. He wanted us to keep it light and fun. He just kept saying, "just trust me, trust me it's going to be great."

What about the rumors that the skirts in this new Star Trek are shorter than the show? Did you think so, was it hard working in a mini?
I'm actually still waiting for the phone call from Paramount producers saying, "You know what Zoe? That skirt wasn't short enough." After watching the show...those skirts were pretty short. If you made them any shorter, it would be a t-shirt. I think they're going to be happy. But the funny thing is, I don't think we went far enough.

What actor went through the most transition?
I think we all did because at times I would think that it was Zachary turning into Spock. But then Chris Pine would walk onto the set in the morning with his blown out hair doing the Kirk walk. We were all transforming ourselves into these characters.

I what was it like working with all the old cast members, like Leonard Nimoy?
Mind boggling. Leonard is the classiest artist I've ever met, by far. He has such grace and his energy and his approach are amazing. After all these years and he just puts on his Spock shoes and transforms into Spock. When his character comes to life it blew everyone away. When I heard Nichelle was on the set I nearly died. I'm sure for Zach it was the same. You are trusted with this precious stone and you have to babysit and make sure you deliver it properly because it was created way before you. And it's going to be living way after, so you need to deliver. That responsibility was kind of humbling.

Tell me about being a one of the few women on the Enterprise?
I think it's awesome. To be on the Enterprise with all these guys, the message speaks loudly. She's a female, she's of high rank and she has her shit together. And never is it ever about, or was it ever about her female presence. It was pretty great. I loved being the only girl.

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