No stranger to blockbuster franchises, Guardians of the Galaxy star Zoe Saldana has also graced the big screen in the massively successful Avatar and the rebooted Star Trek series — and, quite frankly, she’s tired of hearing from Hollywood elitists that Marvel actors have sold out.
Saldana responded to what she describes as industry elitists in an interview with Net-A-Porter‘s digital magazine. “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,” Saldana said. “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.”
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“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,” she continued. “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 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.’ 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.”
Saldana explained that it was the women who starred in action and science fiction movies when she was young who inspired her to become an actor, but it wasn’t until she started her career in the film industry that she received a reminder that she was considered different. “As a child, when I saw Sigourney Weaver play Ellen Ripley or Linda Hamilton play Sarah Connor, they were my true north, because I loved action, I loved science fiction and I loved the roles that they played,” she said. “They were inspiring to me; I wanted that. It wasn’t until I started in my own career that I was reminded that I wasn’t ‘like’ them.”
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Saldana will reprise her role as Gamora in Avengers: Infinity War, which hits theaters on April 27. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the film stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston and Josh Brolin, among others.