Avengers: Infinity War star Zoe Saldana: I had no idea that I had so many fans in India
American actor Zoe Saldana has been a part of some of the biggest Hollywood films — the 39-year-old is a major international star, thanks to films such as Avatar (2009, with a sequel expected in 2020); two Guardians of the Galaxy films (2014 and 2017); and three Star Trek films (2009, 2013, and 2016). Funnily enough, Zoe wasn’t aware of her heavyweight star status until she visited the Facebook headquarters in the US, where she saw all the fan activity around her. The actor, who is now gearing up for the release of Avengers: Infinity War, speaks to us over the phone from Los Angeles. Excerpts:
You’ve been part of some of the biggest film franchises in the past 10 years or so. How aware are you of your international fan bases, and have you interacted with your fans outside of America?
You know, even though I’m there on Twitter and Facebook, I don’t have much idea about them at all. I’m not a millennial, you see (laughs). But recently, I went to the Facebook headquarters, where they were showing how some of the films that I’ve been a part of have done in [non-US] territories. And I was so surprised to see that people from across the globe had seen so many of my films, and I had absolutely no idea about that. India was right there among the top contenders, and I honestly had no idea that I have so many fans there. I was so thrilled and so humbled. I’m going to be a bit more serious on my social media [accounts] now!
Do you also feel that because you’ve worked in huge films such as Avatar and Star Trek, people have been interested in watching the smaller films that you’ve been in?
I’d be lying if I say I don’t see things from that perspective. It’s quite natural that because some of the films I work in are so big, that people will know me and want to see some of the smaller films that I’ve been a part of. More than that, I think as an artist, it’s an amazing feeling to be associated with such a variety of projects. I recently did a film called I Kill Giants (2017), where I worked with some incredible actors, most of whom were less than 15 years old. The fact that people watched it, makes me really happy... that they’re not only interested in seeing me in big franchises, but also want to see my work as an actor. That makes me really happy.
Again, because you’ve been part of such projects... how important do you think it is for you to be a part of campaigns like #metoo and #timesup, which aim to end sexual harassment and gender discrimination?
I think it’s very important. Because it’s only public figures who can spearhead such movements. I think it’s all about inequality, and I feel it’s an epidemic in this world, one that needs to end now. It’s about time that women start getting due credit and recognition for their work, and not suffer [under] male dominance. Let me be very clear: I am a very strong supporter of the #metoo movement. But it’s not because I have all the freedom in the world to do as I want, but because my sisters in the world are suffering. And I’m with them in this fight, for freedom, and I will not stop till everyone achieves the dream.
Your upcoming film, Avengers: Infinity War, will see the merging of two film franchises. Are you jittery about how audiences might respond to it?
Not at all. On the contrary, I’m so excited for everyone to see how it will all come out, when you have the Guardians [of the Galaxy] and Avengers combine to fight this one true evil — Thanos — who happens to be my character’s (Gamora’s) stepdad. It was just such an incredible experience shooting for the film, and I got to shoot with such iconic stars in the film industry, like Robert Downey Jr (who plays Iron Man).
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