Doctor Who

Saldana Needed Some Convincing To Take On Uhura

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.
 

 

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erica rachel kathryn hernandez-garrett-janeway (lol)
August 25, 2008 12:35 am

damn id so love to see uhura go buffy the vampire slayer on someone…maybe some big brutish orion slavemaster or something lol…too bad they couldnt have done something where in the academy days uhura gets hit on by kirk and kicks him in the balls lol

Enc
August 25, 2008 12:51 am

– it’s not for her, nobody will understand the Romulan language-

oh please.

4 8 15 16 23 42
August 25, 2008 12:58 am

I like James Cameron’s movies, and knowing he embraced a spirit of comradeship instead of competition in regards to another Sci-Fi project makes me think more highly of him still.

Wes
August 25, 2008 1:00 am

The only convincing that she needed was the paycheck to be waived in front of her face! LOL!

Agent69
August 25, 2008 2:29 am

James Effin’ Cameron talk her into doing Trek!!!!! And he met with J.J.
Now that is pretty impressive.
I still can’t decide what I’m more excited to see, Trek or Avatar.
Does my love for Trek or Sigourney Weaver + Cameron prevail????

The Last Maquis
August 25, 2008 2:52 am

Way to go James, and Very cool to hear From “The Zoe”…..and see of course.
What is Avatar Based on, Wasn’t he Making Battle Angel? is it the Same?
I’ve Never heard it referred to as That before. also if it’s based on some novel
I obviously don’t care. I’d rather see Battle Angel. Actually I’d rather Hollywood not tap the well dry and start looking to Anime for movie ideas because it’s sacred. However we are aware of Cameron’s work…….with the exception of Titanic,Geez. Yes there is Speedracer, but it’s being done by the Wachowski brothers and they’re lame, and so is speedracer. if I’ve offended any Avatar fans(I do Know what an Avatar is Though), again I don’t care.

off topic
August 25, 2008 2:55 am

Trekmovie has really gotta nail down the difference between “effect” and “affect”
http://www.google.com/search?client=opera&rls=en&q=affect+vs+effect

August 25, 2008 3:00 am

She almost didn’t do it? All that time on my knees praying paid off.

Please
August 25, 2008 4:21 am

They really can’t talk about a movie for the fans after the Shatner fiasco. Not just about not putting him in the movie, but to keep the fans hanging for over a year and not deliver–that’s not how you treat your fans. They may make a good movie, or they may not, but to call this a movie for the fans is just not right.

August 25, 2008 4:31 am

Wow! It’s Either Good Or Bad She Took The Role. We’ll Find Out In May!

Iowagirl
August 25, 2008 4:46 am

I think I will need alot of convincing to read any further articles about Miss I had to be Convinced Saldana…

BTW, I like the cover of the new ST magazine; I didn’t need convincing to look at *that*…:)

#9
E.x.a.c.t.l.y.

MrAtoz
August 25, 2008 5:00 am

um…..she’s uh……very articulate isn’t she ?
(insert eye roll here…..)

Cobra Commander
August 25, 2008 5:31 am

Even if you’ve never watched an episode in your life, wouldn’t you still know that taking any role in Star Trek would make you famous forever?!?

Before I found this site, I’d never heard of Zoe, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, or Urban.

Must be nice to be successful enough to have to “consider” a role in a major motion picture . . !

Jackson Roykirk
August 25, 2008 5:50 am

#9 There was a Shanter Fiasco?

Back on topic…Saldana’s fine as a second-tier character like Uhura. She was good in ‘The Terminal” (and her character was a trekkie!). We’ll see how she does in a larger role, such as in Avatar. Can she help carry a film? I don’t know, but she doesn’t have to help carry Star Trek.

Jim
August 25, 2008 5:54 am

Some people here are under the impression that JJ saying No 50 million times still meant yes. Those same people are also idiots.

August 25, 2008 6:06 am

Look, Shatner did well in a few states but Obama is the nominee and it’s time for the Democrats to unite behind –

– Okay, my bad. I get the whole Shatner thing confused with the Hillary Clinton thing.

August 25, 2008 6:09 am

#13. Never heard of Pegg?

That speaks volumes about the insularity of Trekkies.

EM
August 25, 2008 6:18 am

Ms. Saldana will rock as the Enterprises Communications Officer! I’m positive that all the new cast of Star Trek will be fantastic! I have every confidence that this movie will be wonderful. I, too, would like to see “spoilers” in the form of photos, clips and plot points. But, I really don’t want to see “spoilers” in the form of photos, clips and plot points. I want the movie to be a surprise in every way. I hate that for the last 15 years or so that trailers give away every good and / or important part of every movie that comes out. I don’t bother going to as many movies as I used to because of this very reason. I know that the marketing / money machine will pander to the many who don’t want to wait for surprises.
Too bad, really.

Alec
August 25, 2008 6:23 am

‘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’.

I do hope that was a joke; I fear it wasn’t. Let’s not forget who’s Captain and who’s Communications Officer. From these words, however, it seems we can infer that Abrams has remained true to Star Trek in, first, not making Uhura turn into Mrs Smith; second, having Kirk and Spock save the day. This is a recipe for success.

Some Dude on the Internet
August 25, 2008 6:25 am

Nichelle Nichols held a seance in which the ghost of Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared and begged Saldana to take the role. Then they made out. True story.

August 25, 2008 6:40 am

I find it funny that Saldana equates “soccer mom” with “victim,” and indicating that a soccer mom is somehow not an empowered woman. Hollywood actresses are so insulated from anything approaching real life that it’s equal parts amusing and saddening.

Oh, well. All she has to do is act well in this movie. She doesn’t need to be a bright bulb offscreen.

Cervantes
August 25, 2008 6:49 am

Interesting that it turns out that James Cameron had to point her in the right direction….

How amazingly lucky for her to even be considered to be involved in a SECOND potentially huge Movie! Even if she herself ‘had a lack of knowledge’ about Trek, couldn’t she have asked a few people she knew at the time, who might’ve known a bit more about it to see what they thought? Thespians, eh?

From what I’ve come across so far, it seems that James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ will be an amazing spectacle involving technological developments that will push the envelope, effects-wise in cinema. It’s definately on my future must-see list too.

August 25, 2008 7:18 am

#21:”I find it funny that Saldana equates ‘soccer mom’ with ‘victim'”

I find it funny that people don’t understand the context.

She’s talking about the kinds of roles that young women are most likely to be offered in adventure and suspense movies – young mothers, girlfriends, victims of the baddies – and contrasting that with being the characters who move the action forward.

That’s her professional career – acting in movies – and she views those roles in the context of the work she’s offered. It’s not a commentary on how people are living in Michigan.

Fortunately for her, she’s been able to do more of the latter kind of things in her film appearences than many young female actors.

She actually comes across as pretty smart and savvy.

August 25, 2008 7:31 am

I haven’t heard too much about Saldana, but reading some of what she has to say about the film and her character sounds great. I think she will make an awesome Uhura! She’s the kind of lady with class that also can kick ass when necessary.

JeFF
August 25, 2008 7:49 am

Again, I’m embarrassed and ashamed for Trek fans… that seem to take offense by pretty much anything anyone has to say about the new film.

She could have said, “My favorite color is blue,” and someone here would go into spasms about how because Uhura’s uniform is red, THAT should be her favorite color, and how she offends all that Star Trek stands for because she isn’t what someone expects her to be.

Saldana has proven herself to be a classy, fun, youthful woman of immense class and beauty. Get used to it people; I expect all of these younger actors to want to kick ass. Trek needs that kind of drive to survive, and frankly, it’s what my generation does. :D

Bart
August 25, 2008 8:27 am

Sounds like Uhura’s role might be expanded. Maybe take on some of Hoshi’s responsibility…actually a linguist rather than just someone that opens hailing frequencies.

cellojammer
August 25, 2008 8:35 am

#25

No kidding. I don’t expect these actors to be as steeped in Trek lore as we geeks. The fact that they aren’t is a good thing in my book. I enjoyed her comments and look forward to seeing what EVERYBODY does to bring Trek into the 21st Century.

No worries here!

JeffreyNDallas
August 25, 2008 8:45 am

#25 – Yes Sir, that is it to the letter!

The reason that a smart, young actress does not know much about the original Trek is that it has become irrelevant to the younger generation….Just because we grew up with it and understand it does not mean that everyone who does not is “out of touch”…..The fact that she had to get input before taking on a role shows that she takes her career seriously and considers what she want’s to do and probably if she has the ability to take on that role successfully…I applaud her for this and am glad she did not just take it for the money….

EM
August 25, 2008 8:48 am

#23 – 27 inclusive : Right On!
It is nice to see voices of reason in the Trek Fan World.
I am greatly encouraged as much by your words as everyone involved in
the actual production of this movie.

OneBuckFilms
August 25, 2008 8:49 am

I actually agree with her on Uhura kicking a little butt.

She’s communications officer, but she’s also a trained Starfleet officer.

We saw Uhura in Trek III showing a lot of independent spirit beyond “Hailing Frequencies Open” with her little “This isn’t reality. This is Fantasy !!! Now GET IN THE CLOSET !!!” with Mr. Adventure.

Uhura must have some fight in her to get to be a Bridge Officer on a Starship.

Cobra Commander
August 25, 2008 8:50 am

#17
Sean, you’re obviously intelligent and have an excellent vocabulary.

Just because I’m new to Simon Pegg does not mean I am “insular.” (Although I did, literally, grow up on an island . . . )

I’ve never seen one second of Pegg’s work. I’m sorry if that offends you.
It appears MI:III is the movie from which most people *might* know him, but I never saw MI:III because I can’t stand Tom Cruise.

I just asked an office full of people if they know who Simon Pegg is.
The response: “Simon who???” (Hopefully, after ST opens next year, these same people will respond: “Oh yeah, Scotty!”

Closettrekker
August 25, 2008 9:32 am

#9—You may speak for some fans, but by no means are we all bitter about the so-called “Shatner fiasco”. Personally, as much as I enjoyed a young Bill Shatner’s work as JTK—-I would never have expected him to be in the film in the first place. And if he were, I would be much more apprehensive about the story. I certainly was not “left hanging”…

#23—Well said, Dennis.

DaveO
August 25, 2008 9:44 am

#6 –

“Avatar” is written by James Cameron. It is an original story for the screen.

:)

DaveO
August 25, 2008 9:46 am

So, I’d like to assure you that no “Avatar” fans have been insulted, because not one of them has seen the movie yet.

:)

Tom
August 25, 2008 9:58 am

The movie is for the fans but not too fanboyish.

August 25, 2008 10:22 am

le belle femme sans des regrets…

Arrrrrr…

August 25, 2008 10:43 am

le?
Je pleure .
Meme les idiots connaissent le male de la femme.
Yet…
Qui ne voudrait pas etre Uhuru? Le idiots? Le pew de Pepe? Moi?
Je peux porter une petite robe rouge tres bien.

Arrrrrrr…

Harry Ballz
August 25, 2008 10:58 am

An unknown actress has to be talked into doing a film role??

Puh-lease!!

The arrogance and conceit from some of these wannabees borders on outrageous!

Thomas
August 25, 2008 11:15 am

I have no doubt that Uhura will be a much more dynamic character in this movie, and there’s plenty of examples in Trek of Uhura holding her own, but she’s always been a lover first and a fighter second.

August 25, 2008 11:23 am

Back in ’93 I turned down the role o’ Hamlet in an East Anglian company production… too small a role really.

Years later, unable ta’ get even a moggie-food commercial, I accepted tha’ role o’ Yorick’s skull… and I thought thar’s so much space for tha’ skull ta’ grow and start branching oot. I want to see it do some kicks or something. Why should Horatio and Hamlet always be tha’ ones ta’ save tha’ day? Skull should tell them, “Ye’ know what? I’ve got this one.”

Arrrrrr…

Mike 1701
August 25, 2008 11:52 am

#9
I’m a fan and I’m ecstatic Shatner is not in the film. I am so tired seeing actors get most of the credit for films or TV success when it’s really the writers, producers and directors who do most of the work and make the art truly shine. Yes, I am happy Zoe is in the film, but had she declined the role, and another actor was selected, the film would still work–assuming it does already.

Cobra Commander
August 25, 2008 11:58 am

#38

“An unknown actress has to be talked into doing a film role??
Puh-lease!!
The arrogance and conceit from some of these wannabees borders on outrageous!”

Precisely! What’s up with that????

(The) TOS Purist aka The Purolator
August 25, 2008 12:06 pm

[JJ] understands that he’s making a movie for the fans primarily.

Wha….I thought that they WEREN’T making this “for the fans!” At least that’s what JJ Abrams has been saying in the 1283 interviews he’s done, not to mention the other stars. Up to this point it’s been pretty clear that what the fans want has not been a major consideration; they’ve been much more concerned with “bringing in the new fans.”

Please
August 25, 2008 12:46 pm

32–I realize some people are not bitter about the Shatner debacle. The same people that were arguing against him in the first place. But the fact is, it was handled very poorly and the Shatner fans were treated very badly. To claim Abrams is making a movie for the fans is ridiculous in light of that. It’s an insult to see that claim. Just promote your movie as you see fit, but don’t make a claim like that when it’s not backed up.

August 25, 2008 1:11 pm

‘please’
please stop trying to derail threads into another pointless ‘shatner in the movie’ debate.

richpit
August 25, 2008 1:55 pm

“Nichelle Nichols held a seance in which the ghost of Martin Luther King, Jr. appeared and begged Saldana to take the role. Then they made out. True story.”

LOL!! That’s hilarious!!

Joe Schmoe
August 25, 2008 2:32 pm

For some strange reason I’m picturing her version of Uhura dancing out in the middle of the desert with palm leaves, with guys crawling up the dune asking, “Is she naked?”

Alex Rosenzweig
August 25, 2008 3:33 pm

#43 – “I thought that they WEREN’T making this “for the fans!” At least that’s what JJ Abrams has been saying in the 1283 interviews he’s done, not to mention the other stars.”

I dunno about that. My sense had been that what Mr. Abrams and the others have been saying is that the film isn’t being made *only* for the existing fans, but is designed to bring in new fans *as well*.

For myself, I very much appreciate was Ms. Saldana has to say, and I’m excited to see her as Uhura. My favorite Trek-related line from the above quotes: “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.”

But I also really liked the description of James Cameron’s comments. I would have loved to have been able to see him and Mr. Abrams chattering sci-fi. :)

255 more to go
August 25, 2008 3:35 pm

Uhura the receptionist wants to go from gettng coffee to kicking butt.
Now, that’s progress.
I’m not sure about all these “bit” players all of the sudden wanting big roles in the Star Trek universe.
As far as I’m concerned, Star Trek the original was about Kirk, Spock, McCoy & the Enterprise. Scotty came in next and the rest filled up the screen for the most part. I would rather keep it that way. There’s only so much time to divide between all the main characters.

cellojammer
August 25, 2008 4:01 pm

Lots of folks are reading WAAAAYY too much into some sound bytes. Chill the F- out, people. It’s only a movie. These are only actors. To some it’s just one paying gig amongst many, and they have to be careful to choose the ones that will suit them the best, artistically as well as financially. Sure, WE would pay to have a walk-on extra/bit part, but these professionals aren’t as twisted as we are.

Cut ’em some slack, for cryin’ out loud!

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