Saldana shares her inspiration for Gamora, a conflicted character who flees Thanos to join the good guys in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper
May 5, 2017
Saldana is a pro when it comes to playing smart, tough and heroic women — her breakout role was as wise warrior princess Neytiri in 2009’s Avatar, and she played Klingon-speaking, action-loving Lt. Commander Uhura in the reimagined Star Trek films — and Gamora remains Saldana’s most complex role of the three.
Origins of Gamora
In the first Guardians film we learned her family was murdered by the evil Thanos (Josh Brolin), who then raised her along with his other daughter, Nebula (Karen Gillan). Thanos was an abusive father who trained Gamora to become a deadly assassin. But Gamora rebels against Thanos and joins the ragtag Guardians, headed up by Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt).
“In the first movie you could tell she was trying to run away from something that she just did not want in her life,” explains Saldana. “She was willing to risk her life in order to get this freedom.”
“Gamora is trying to redeem herself for all the bad that she feels that she’s caused and the pain she’s inflicted on so many people”
Saldana’s inspiration for Gamora“I was really interested in the lost kids of Sudan,” she says, “and what happens when these young children are taken from their villages in countries in Africa and forced into a life of violence and what that does to a young, innocent mind. It taints it in the most evil way. Those were the kind of issues I was studying when I was putting Gamora together and I picked that up from where I left off for this movie.”
What motivates Gamora
“The word that keeps popping up is redemption,” says Saldana. “Gamora is trying to redeem herself for all the bad that she feels that she’s caused and the pain she’s inflicted on so many people, like Drax for instance, who hated Gamora because he lost his family because of Thanos, Gamora and Nebula. She is reminded every time she looks at Drax, ‘I can’t smile too much; I have to wash away what I’ve done.’”
From our archives: Watch a 2014 interview with Dave Bautista on his role as Drax and another Marvel icon he’d love to play
Saldana loves being in on the action
“When I got Avatar and I did all that training for five months and my body was in the best shape it would ever, ever be in my f--king life, it gave me this ability to be eligible for all these action roles that were coming my way and I took them,” she says proudly.
“I was going after the things I really wanted since I was a child. I loved action movies, Sylvester Stallone, Harrison Ford, Jackie Chan, those were stars I liked to watch. But the movies were driven by males, and even as a child I felt, ‘Oh, I love this, but I would love it more if a woman was in it.’ So when I wasn’t watching those movies I was imagining myself to be an action hero and I was climbing rooftops and I was climbing trees, but I wished there were more Ellen Ripleys and Sarah Connors."
“I’ve accepted my role as an action hero, I own it and I love it. I am so proud whenever dads — especially dads — come up to me and say, ‘You are an inspiration to my little girl. She wants to be active, she wants to join the army, she wants to sign up for archery,’ and you’re like, ‘Wow.’”
Are you ready for Avengers: Endgame?
First, get your tickets! Then, book some quality catch-up time. You’ll find all the MCU titles (not still in theatre) at the Cineplex store! Whether you should watch them chronologically or by order of release is one battle you’ll have to take on with your friends.