Avatar Blu-Ray & DVD Out Now + Zoe Saldana Interview
Avatar is out now on Blu-Ray and DVD in the UK. It’s habit of breaking records doesn’t look like it’s stopping any time soon, it’s already sold 6.7 million copies in its first four days of release in North America. 2.7 million of those were on Blu-Ray, breaking the record set by The Dark Knight, which took 18 months to sell 2.5 million Blu-Rays. Check out a quick interview with Zoe Saldana and a short Blu-Ray/DVD synopsis below.
The must-own AVATAR Blu-ray release provides the ultimate high definition experience for home viewing audiences. Recognized for its optimum picture and sound, the film’s masterful cinematography, art direction and visual effects lends itself to awe-inspiring clarity when viewed on Blu-ray Disc. The UK is exclusively releasing a Limited Edition Blu-ray available for pre-order only by online retailers containing 4 lenticular art cards and a ‘Survival Guide’ book. The Golden Globe® and Oscar winning epic is the highest grossing film of all time, taking in over $2.6 billion in worldwide box office, with £89.4 million from the UK box office to date.
How thrilled were you to get the role in this extraordinary movie?
Zoe Saldana: Neytiri is by far the best role of my career, I had a very hard time letting her go actually. Neytiri literally sucked the life out of me and in a very welcome way because I was working with such an amazing director as Jim (Cameron). There are simply not enough wonderful roles like this in Hollywood, where you can feel challenged from head to toe, with characters that you really feel resemble the kind of women you know all around you, inspiring women. I want to play women who are inspiring like Neytiri. James Cameron gave me the room and permission to invest myself in this character and it was the most amazing thing I have ever done.
You had to learn the special Na’vi language that was created, what was that like?
Zoe Saldana: That was amazing. I am quite good at language, I am actually fluent in Spanish and I understand French, Italian and Portuguese. Fortunately the vowels we learned were similar to Latin vowels that are familiar to me, so that helped. They had a brilliant linguist to help us from USC (University of Southern California), along with Jim, (Cameron) because Jim created the words. The linguist was able to take those words and create a language, which had an alphabet and everything, it was fantastic. It wasn’t the challenge of learning the language that was difficult for me; it was the challenge of speaking English with a Na’vi accent. All the characters come from different parts of the world. My own accent is Queens (New York). And I had to speak it with a Na’vi accent, which was almost impossible. (laughs)
Was it challenging working with the motion capture technology?
Zoe Saldana: It was interesting. I wore a one piece, very tight Velcro suit. It had to be Velcro because they would put dots all over our bodies in specific places in order to capture our movements. You could not move a single dot. We were working in a contained area and there were over 250 cameras in the space (the ‘volume’) registering our emotions, our entire performances. We also wore helmets with cameras. The cameras were registering our facial expressions. So this was very different from anything that has been done before. By improving the technology to such an extent, it meant Jim would not lose the intimacy he would normally have as a director with the actors he works with.
What’s it like working with James Cameron?
Zoe Saldana: He’s absolutely amazing. Jim is rock solid, he is tough but he will not expect any less from you than you are capable of doing, because he doesn’t expect any less from himself. I do have a very similar character though. He is very detailed, he’s a perfectionist and I am too. I almost feel I was meant to work with him. I don’t like comfortable people, I don’t like lazy people. If he wants you to shoot an arrow, he’s not going to sit back and tell you to do it, he will shoot it himself. He will actually grab the arrow. He is prepared to show you exactly how he wants it done, even though he might get hurt doing it, because he has the camera with him. And you think to yourself ‘if he can do it I can do it’. That is very encouraging. He will demand the best of you, but he will demand the best of himself. So he’s not just a taker, he’s a giver as well. I’ve never felt so respected and valued by a director.”
Was it a very rigorous shoot?
Zoe Saldana: I’ve never worked with a director so intimately, because we worked for a period of two years off and on – at one point we had fifteen days with no break. But let me tell you, Sam (Worthington) and I became so addicted to the work on this film; we were itching to get back to work when we were off. We were diving into this world and loved it. Everyone on the crew was the same, even the background actors. Whenever we were working for fifteen days, they would go past so fast. And when we were not working, we had no idea at all what to do with ourselves.
So how did you spend any time off?
Zoe Saldana: Sam and I would train together, we would have the same trainer and I would just meet him at a gym and work out. We would also keep working with the dialect coach. You had to stay in the world all the time really, but that is what acting is like. That is why you can’t really take a long break. If you were to stop, it would be hard to get back. It is like opera singers warming up the voice, they cannot just walk away and stop singing, they need to train all the time. But AVATAR was such an amazing world that we wanted to stay in it all the time. It was so new, it was different; it challenged us in a different way from anything we had experienced in the past. In the middle of the night I would just wake up and write Jim an email with thoughts about the character. I was very passionate about the film and that is the kind of passion I really want in my life.
What kind of training did you do?
Zoe Saldana: We did archery and movement. We worked with an amazing choreographer from Cirque du Soleil to create a specific walk and mannerisms for the Na’vi, for this species, because we just couldn’t be human. We also did martial arts: Wushu, which is a very specific form of martial arts. It is the kind practiced by Jet Li, rather than Jackie Chan. Because of who we are, the movement needed to be smooth. We also worked on horseback and there was a lot of training in the gym, so that we could sustain rigorous legwork. It was important because I am crouching for half the movie.
How has your life changed since STAR TREK and now AVATAR? Were you prepared for the success that AVATAR has led to?
Zoe Saldana: It is fantastic and I just really hope that as time goes on, this film will help me to get the attention of the James Camerons and the Steven Spielbergs and the J.J. Abrams and all the directors I would love to work with like Marc Forster, David Fincher and Jim Sheridan. I would also love to work with up and coming directors. I would like to take a risk with young talented filmmakers, in the same way that these big directors took a risk on me when I was an underdog. I am hoping for a long career. I know I have the most supportive group around me. I have been having a great time, but I have been away so much working that my dog isn’t happy.
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