About a year ago TrekMovie.com broke the news that Zoe Saldana had been offered the role of Uhura in the new Star Trek. At the time it wasn’t clear if she would take the role, due to her obligations shooting another Sci-Fi blockbuster, Avatar. Now in a new interview Saldana reveals that the director of that film helped talk her into taking the Trek job. The actress also talks more more about Uhura and her possible future as well as JJ Abrams’ respect for the fans.
Trek respect from Titanic director and Abrams
Saldana tells Star Trek Magazine that when she was offered the role of Uhura she was already working on another big movie and she was "on the fence" and had a "lack of knowledge about Star Trek." But even though it might effect her schedule on his new Avatar film, James Cameron (Titanic) helped her realize what an opportunity it was, Saldana notes.
I was working on Avatar and even Jim [Cameron] was saying, "You’re kidding me? You’re not going to do Star Trek?! Give me J.J.’s number, and I’ll call him." He invited J.J. over to the set, and just to see these two directors having a sci fi conversation…. I think I would charge people.
Since taking the job, Saldana has got to know Trek much more. She tells STM that since filming has ended she has been watching even more Trek and has gained a new respect for the show and the original creators. She also notes how much much respect J.J. Abrams had when making the new Star Trek, telling STM:
[JJ] understand that he’s making a movie for the fans primarily. We always felt that as well. We always treated everything with so much respect. "Ok, how is this done?" There were things that were very appointed that we should not be tampering with and I needed to know specific details. Anyone like me can go and see this movie and be blown away regardless, because they’re starting from the moment they walk in the theater. But for the fans, we’re picking up where others left off. W needed to know how to do things in a way that won’t change their history of Star Trek.
Uhura: communications for now – butt kicking next time
In the interview Saldana also talks about the challenge of taking on the role that Nichelle Nichols made famous, and she may have also dropped a hint about the movie itself:
As a woman, I always want to find roles that are empowering to women, not just soccer moms, or girlfriends or victims. She’s Uhura, man. She communicates! If it’s not for her, nobody will understand the Romulan language! All these people in the ship need her. She’s so necessary, just like Scotty and every body.
Of course if the new Star Trek works out, there will be more films with this new cast, and Saldana is already thinking ahead, telling Star Trek mag she will be ready to expand her scope:
…there’s so much space for her to grow and start branching out. I want to see her do some kicks or something. I’m very physical. Why should Captain Kirk always be the one to save the day? Uhura should tell Spock and Kirk, "You know what? I’ve got this one."
Saldana in February (WireImage)
The latest issue of Star Trek Magazine has much more from Saldana, and has a lot of other good stuff in it so pick it on newsstands now.