Some people in the entertainment industry still look down on superhero films and the actors who agree to suit up for them. Zoe Saldana has no time for that.
The "Guardians of the Galaxy" star, whose Gamora returns in "Avengers: Infinity War," gave Net-a-Porter an impassioned speech defending comic book movies against "elitists." Her point is how much Marvel and other blockbuster movies mean to children, and how MCU stars often give so much of their time to children in need.
The topic came up when Net-a-Porter wondered why Zoe Saldana isn't a household name like her peers, after huge franchises like "Avatar," the "Star Trek" reboot movies, and now the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (You could argue that she's covered up in so much makeup/CGI in those movies that we don't really "see" her, but everyone should at least know her name by now.)
Here's her take:
"I've been in rooms with people in this industry who are great at what they do, but they're absolutely elitist and they look down at movies like the Marvel films or actors like myself. They think we're selling out in some way.
Every time they speak I feel so disappointed in them, because whenever you see pictures of people in this industry who donate their time to children in need, it's these actors that live in the world that you feel is selling out. It's these actors that understand the role that they play inspires a five-year-old who has one dying wish to meet a superhero. That actor takes time out of their life and sits down with that five-year-old and says, 'I see you, I hear you, and you matter.'
Those elitists should be a little more cognizant about what playing a superhero means to a young child. Because you're not just dissing me, you're dissing what that child considers important in their world. I feel so proud to be living in space, to be playing green and blue aliens, to inspire, primarily, the younger generations. I remember what it was like to be young and to feel completely excluded out of the mainstream conversation of life because I was just little and unimportant and 'other.'"
Saldana has become a fixture of the sci-fi world from her three blockbuster franchises. She told the magazine sci-fi is a refuge for anyone who has ever felt excluded.
"I work with filmmakers who gravitated to this genre because they were exiles in their own right, excluded from a mainstream conversation. They found their world and they were able to imagine the unimaginable. Everything about how they create, and how they invite characters to join them, is absolutely inclusive."
She makes some good points. Daniel Day-Lewis and Meryl Streep may never be impressed enough to suit up, but Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen are also sci-fi/fantasy/comic book regulars, along with Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence and plenty of respected actors like Mark Ruffalo, Margot Robbie, Don Cheadle, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Michael Fassbender.
Hopefully there's enough space in the cinematic galaxy for everyone, because the flip-side of this argument is how much superhero/blockbuster movies can take over the industry until there's no room for anything else.
Here's more from Saldana's Net-a-Porter interview. "Infinity War" opens April 27. Saldana is returning as Neytiri for "Avatar 2," which is scheduled for release December 18th, 2020.
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