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To Boldly Go

Zoe Saldana Almost Turned Down Star Trek. Here’s Why.

I’ll give you a second to recover from imagining a non-Zoe Saldana Uhura, and then we’ll carry on.

Explained Saldana to Latina magazine:

“I think I was just a little beside myself because after the treat and the gift of booking Avatar and being in the middle of shooting, to be able to then do another great movie with another great filmmaker back to back – I was a little overwhelmed and I thought: ‘Maybe I should just take some time off and focus and just rest?’”

Zoe, no! I don’t need another reason to dislike Avatar!

But then:

“My team was like, ‘Zoe, are you stupid? Don’t let fear immobilize you. This is an amazing opportunity to step into the shoes of an iconic character in an iconic series and it’s in space and you’re a sci-fi buff.’ And I was like, ‘Oh my God, who am I kidding?’”

Whoever they are, Zoe’s team deserves some flowers. Some flowers and chocolate. Maybe my firstborn child. My undying appreciation, at the very least.

But, ducking into the world where Avatar stopped Saldana from playing Uhura for moment (noooo, it hurts), if she had turned down the role, is there anyone else you’d have liked to see take it up?

(via: blastr)

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  • Dan Wohl

    Rosario Dawson, who has been quite vocal about her love of Star Trek and her desire to be a part of Abrams’ series. Kind of surprised it wasn’t her in the first place. Still hoping she will show up as another character at some point (third movie villain?).

  • Sherice Antoinette

    Rosario Dawson doesn’t identify as Black. Casting her would be controversial.

  • Totz_the_Plaid

    “I’ll give you a second to recover from imagining a non-Zoe Saldana Uhura”

    I always think of Nichelle Nichols when I think of Uhura anyway…

  • Trevor

    She’d make a good Klingon, or Romulan, or Vulcan, or Andorian, hell she’d make a great anything in Star Trek. Oh she would be a great T’Pring if they were to do that story line.

  • Sherice Antoinette

    T’Pring has my vote! That would be inspired casting! Dawson as a Klingon would be fantastic too.

  • Teresa Jusino

    Neither does Saldana, really. I mean, she knows she’s black but she, like Dawson, is Latina. Dominican, to be specific. (Dawson is Cuban, I think) So is Gina Torres (Zoe on Firefly), and she plays Black characters all the time. Black Latinas generally identify as Latinas culturally, because that’s how they grew up. They didn’t grow up with an entirely African-American experience, necessarily. That doesn’t mean they’re not Black, and don’t have a lot of the same experiences based on their skin color.

  • B.G. Paulus

    I hereby nominate Beyoncé … Sha-zam!

  • Teresa Jusino

    Rosario Dawson definitely would’ve been a great choice – and she’s a huge Trekkie, so yeah, that would’ve made me happy. :) Didn’t know Saldana was also a sci-fi fan, so that makes me happy, too!

  • Anonymous

    I’m just happy that she acknowledged that Uhura was “iconic”,that Star Trek is also”iconic” and that she is into sci-fi.That’s pretty great,it’s not just work etc for her.Same goes for Rasario Dawson it appears.
    It took a long time but finally Star Trek is being accepted as something more than a low budget sci-fi show.Roddenberry and his vision have been vindicated.

  • Sherice Antoinette

    I see your point but it’s tough for dark skinned Black actresses to get work as it is. That’s all I’m really saying. The paper bag rule stills applies in Hollywood and it’s frustrating as hell.

  • Anonymous

    I wasn’t into fandom when she was first announced in the role, but I remember people freaking out and basically saying it was a disrespect to a pioneering African American role to have a non-black actress playing Uhura.

    And all I can think is “Do people not realize Latinos come in all shapes and sizes?” There’s a great quote from Gina Torres where she points out that Americans seem to think all Latinos look like people from Italy with a tan for some reason.

  • Ashe P. Samuels

    Gina Torres is fantastic. That was a good interview.

    Zoe Saldana gets a lot of criticism for a few reasons, and I agree it’s not entirely fair to give all the blame to her: it’s true she has more privilege than a lot of black women, looking more ‘conventionally’ attractive and being relatively light-skinned.

    But, when people get upset she’s cast in ‘black roles’, they need to remember the responsibility rests more on the people in charge who refuse to open the doors of opportunity, not a biracial actress looking to get by with what little she’s offered.

    That said, I’m still pretty horrified she’s playing Nina Simone.

  • Anonymous

    Same. That’s some utter nonsense with the casting for the Simone movie. She’s just not right in any way for the part, much as I love her.

  • Anonymous

    I got such goosebumps listening to an interview with Nichols where she said that MLK convinced her not to quit Star Trek, because her visibility in the role of an intelligent, vital professional made the world (for one of the first times on TV) see people of color “as they should be seen.”

  • Totz_the_Plaid

    I’ve read about that. Also, he noted that she was high up the chain of command. Either fourth after Sulu or fifth after Scotty, I forget which.