Zoe Saldana Interview For ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’
When the crew of the Enterprise is called back home, they find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization has detonated the fleet and everything it stands for, leaving our world in a state of crisis. With a personal score to settle, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. As our heroes are propelled into an epic chess game of life and death, love will be challenged, friendships will be torn apart, and sacrifices must be made for the only family Kirk has left: his crew.
Chris Pine (Captain James T. Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), Bruce Greenwood (Christopher Pike), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Karl Urban (Bones), and Anton Yelchin (Pavel Chekov) reprise their roles from the 2009 ‘Star Trek’ original, with new parts for the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Alice Eve, Noel Clarke, Nazneen Contractor and Peter Weller. ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ is directed by J.J. Abrams with a script by Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof. The film is opening on May 9th in the UK, while the film bows in the US on May 17th. The May 9th opening date will see the film in IMAX 3D, 3D and 2D theaters. ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ will arrive in US IMAX theaters from May 15th. Look out for a more in-depth interview with Zoe Saldana for the film next week.
I understand in the four years between ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ you had been hinting to J.J. that you wanted Uhura to kick more ass….?
Zoe Saldana: Yes (laughs). For years I wanted Uhura to kick ass. I didn’t care if I was kicking or punching something, I just wanted her to be a little more physical. And when I met up with J.J. for ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ he was like, “You asked and now you receive,” (laughs). It was tonnes of fun. And in ‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ I think Uhura is finally coming to terms that this is a very stressful, high strung profession that she’s in. And I think the biggest question that popped up for me, and I guess Uhura as well, was, “Do I have what it takes to sacrifice my life for my team, for my people, for my ship, for the cause, for the principals I believe in?” That to me was what resonated most to me about this story and about this sequel, that you’re seeing the shift from kids to adults. They’re taking on bigger responsibilities and accepting the path they’ve each chosen. And of course she kicks some ass (laughs).
When you’re working on a sequel does it feel any “easier”, in terms of the fact that there’s that trust already built up between the actors?
Zoe Saldana: Yes. It was awesome working on this. Just beautiful. It felt like in the beginning, when we were rehearsing, that in the four years since ‘Star Trek’ we had all been nagging J.J. so much to do a second instalment of ‘Star Trek’ it was like he gave up and said, “Alright, alright,” (laughs). But really, reading the script was so great, it was absolutely amazing. Even then I had a feeling it was going to supersede the first one. And then to have the privilege to come back and work with colleagues that have become your friends, and people who you’ve sustained as friends for this long, it never felt like we were breaking any ice, we just went right back into it. When you’re working like that you feel very very safe to experiment and to be yourself. I think that’s one of the most beautiful gifts that can be given in acting or filmmaking.
A major issue in this story for Uhura and Spock is their relationship with each other, how that has developed. They both seem to be discovering who they are and are working together, yet there are challenges….
Zoe Saldana: Yeah. Spock is such a committed person, he’s always willing to give up his life for his team and for what he believes in – and I don’t think that’s starting to sit well with Uhura. She definitely would like to feel – like anybody who’s in love – she would like to feel that she has some kind of relevance in his psyche that would compel him to go, “Wait a minute, let me think it. Let me recoup myself.” And he just doesn’t, and obviously that causes her to question why she’s with him. She asks herself, “What is it about Spock that I’ve always been taken by?” And I was really happy with that dynamic and that continuation of the relationship, of their relationship. And Zach is such a classy man, by nature. And Spock is known for being so gracious. Leonard Nimoy really created a very gracious Vulcan, and with Zach it was just like the ring just fit so perfectly (laughs).
There’s a great moment in the film when Uhura brings up these issues with Spock in a really dangerous moment….
Zoe Saldana: I love that scene when we have that conversation (laughs). It’s in front of their boss too, the Captain is in-between us. We’re getting shot at and I ask him to commit to more. It feels like a typical, contemporary love story (laughs). That’s one thing that’s great about working with J.J. and his team of writers, in that you’re going to be stepping into shoes of human beings – whether they’re superhuman, or whether they’re fighting battles. Even considering what they do as work, they’re still being challenged with everyday matters of the heart, you know? And they’re still being challenged with politics and self-discovery. So the story and the journey between Spock and Uhura is, in my opinion, she’s learning the kind of person he is, and she’s encouraging him to cater to his human side, to his human half. And there’s a conflict there, because he doesn’t want to be compromised, because he feels like if he’s to be compromised he’ll be weak and a lot of people will suffer.
And Uhura, she needs to learn to just understand his Vulcan side. She’s with a man who has duty before anything else, she needs to accept and embrace that when he tells her that she’s important to him, that she is. But that’s really hard for us ladies, we often want more (laughs). So that’s the conflict. But I liked the way in that scene that it was presented how we would have it out, you know? It’s not just us sitting down having a cup of tea (laughs), our lives are in danger. With the levity of the situation it’s really humorous.
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