Zoe Saldana Says She 'Felt Stuck' Making Franchise Films Over Last Decade: But 'I'm Very Grateful'

Zoe Saldana has starred in almost every major movie franchise over the last decade, but now she’s ready to take on new roles.

via People:

In a recent interview with Women’s Wear Daily, Saldana, who returns as Neytiri in James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar: The Way of Water in late December, said that she has not been “able to expand or grow” in an artistic sense while working on franchise films like Star Trek, Avatar and Guardians of the Galaxy for the last decade.

“I feel that for the last 10 years of my life, I’ve been just stuck. I felt stuck doing these franchises,” Saldana told the outlet. “I’m very grateful for the opportunities that they provided, from collaborating with amazing directors and getting to meet cast members that I consider friends and getting to play a role that fans, especially children, love.”

“But it also meant that I felt artistically stuck in my craft of not being able to expand or grow or challenge myself by playing different sorts of genres and different roles,” she added.

Saldana said during the interview that she “took control over my aging and I took control over my voice” as she took on non-franchise projects like her recent Netflix series From Scratch (which she also produced) and David O. Russell’s ensemble crime film Amsterdam, in which she starred opposite Christian Bale and Margot Robbie.

“I’m so happy that I’m able to collaborate with filmmakers and producers and people in this industry that want that for women, that want women to be ageless and who don’t fetishize women’s youth,” Saldana told the outlet. “And so it’s interesting. It’s really interesting.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Saldana shared her thoughts on seeing the long-awaited Avatar sequel finally come to fruition 13 years after director Cameron’s original 2009 sci-fi epic.

“It’s just my baby. It’s everybody’s baby,” Saldana said of the blossoming Avatar franchise. “And to see this baby now being a teenager, like a young adult and getting to share it with the world is just…I felt like this day would never come and it’s finally here.”

Saldana said she is “not aiming to get the same results” with The Way of Water that Avatar was in terms of financial success, though she hopes the new movie has “a very beautiful impact” on audiences.

“That was a wonderful surprise. We were not expecting it. And the reception was just imaginably beautiful,” Saldana said of the first movie’s breakout success. “Obviously I’m hoping for Avatar 2: The Way of Water to have a very beautiful impact on people. But it’s not for the sake of breaking any records or making a ton of money.”

“I think this saga is special. It was made with a lot of love and a lot of work,” she told the outlet. “And it’s an experience worth having.”

Avatar: The Way of Water, which brings back Neytiri and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) as parents for a new adventure, is in theaters Dec. 16.

Zoe’s made some public missteps (*cough* Nina Simone *cough*), but we appreciate her place in the film industry.

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