Just a few years ago, Zoë Saldana was a lesser known actress in minor roles. She starred in the failed ABC show “Six Degrees,” but moved on to the big screen, where she managed to work steadily, if not prominently, for several years.
Her most notable roles were as a ballet dancer in 2000’s Center Stage and the girlfriend in 2002’s Drumline, 2005’s Guess Who, 2006’s Premium, and 2007’s Constellation.
For the past three years, Saldana has kicked her career into hyper overdrive by starring in Vantage Point (2008) with Forest Whitaker, Star Trek (2009) as young Uhura, and in a little movie called Avatar (2009).
This year alone, Saldana is starring in four major films: The Losers (out in theaters April 23), Takers (being released Aug. 20), Death at a Funeral (now in theaters), and Burning Palms (no release date).
Now that her awards tour is over and she’s done plugging Avatar, Saldana is busy promoting her other films, like The Losers, which is based on a graphic novel of the same name, written by Andy Diggle for DC Comics. The screenplay adaptation was written by Peter Berg and James Vanderbilt, and directed by Sylvain White (Stomp the Yard).
“This film takes it back to the 80s kind of action movies, where there’s a bad guy and they’re the good guys and they’ve been wronged,” said Saldana, 31, about The Losers.
“And they have to bring justice for all and save the day.”
The Losers are five soldiers in an elite Special Forces Unit. After being framed and marked for death by the government, they go into business for themselves on a search and destroy mission in Bolivia, tracking the whereabouts of Max (Jason Patric), their most powerful enemy. While there, they link up with Aisha (Saldana), who helps the group with their mission.
The film also stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Clay and Aisha’s love interest, Columbus Short as Pooch, Idris Elba as Roque, Chris Evans as Jensen, and Oscar Jaenada as Cougar.
“The only difference between this movie, and say, Watchmen, as far as the violence is concerned, is the gore factor,” said Morgan, who starred in Watchmen as The Comedian. “We’re not going to see guts and bone hanging off of the ceiling in Losers.”
There has been a bit of controversy surrounding the film for its violence, even though it has been given a PG-13 rating by the Motion Picture Arts Association. Saldana takes issue with the double standards that allow gratuitous violence instead of sex in films.
“I can’t remember the last time you actually saw two individuals in a story having sex, being physically affectionate with each other,” said Saldana, calling for more affection in films. “There’s much more violence, and our censorship has gotten a little too far. Too much censorship is just as bad as having none at all.”
There was also a question of Saldana’s comfort with being the only major female character in The Losers, and a sexy one at that. In the movie, Saldana has to shoot an enemy and defend herself while in her underwear; and also engage in a sexy love scene with Morgan.
“Thank God Sylvain always managed to meet me in the middle,” Saldana said about filming the two scenes. “It’s about outwitting something as opposed to out-sexing the situation.”
According to Saldana, soldiers will do what they have to do and use what they have to complete their missions, regardless of their gender. If a woman’s sexuality is needed, then that’s what she uses.
Saldana said that the gratuitous violence seen in many films is much worse than physical affection between two people.
“There needs to be a balance,” said Saldana about films in general. “I miss sex in movies, because sex is natural. Guns are not.”
Photo: Zoe Saldana