Quoted: Zoe Saldana on Race, Gender, and Star Trek

You’re playing a black ops soldier in the adaptation of the graphic novel The Losers, out in April. Do you enjoy roles that require you to run around and shoot a gun?

Zoe Saldana: Like you wouldn’t believe. It turns me on in a way that I shouldn’t be saying. It’s not the guns that turn me on, though—it’s seeing women in a commanding position. It’s boring to always play the victim. [In sobbing victim’s voice] “Rape me! I’ll have your child!” Eff that! Why don’t you have my baby and wait at home while I go kill some motherfuckers? [Laughs.] It’s just very empowering. I just want to play roles that, in some way or another, resemble the kind of person that I am, the kind of things that I’m attracted to.

So what sort of roles won’t you play?

Zoe Saldana: I have a hard time accepting roles that typecast a culture. I don’t need to play Juana, the prostitute from Washington Heights, in every movie. If it’s been done before, you don’t need my help. Latinos, we’re not all pimps or prostitutes, we don’t all deal drugs; not everyone in Jamaica smokes weed; not every Middle Easterner is a terrorist. It’s boring, offensive, and hurtful. I’m not bitter about it, I’m just saying that I would like to retain accuracy of certain cultures. Some people will do these roles, but I’m fine with being poor. […]

OK, we know you signed a non-disclosure agreement, but can you tell us any secrets about Star Trek 2?

Zoe Saldana: [Laughs.] I did make one request to J.J., which was that I really wanted my character to kick some ass, so he said he’s going to think about that. Just so you know, you guys aren’t the only ones in the dark when it comes to J.J. He’ll hold a surprise up until the last minute, even with the people that he’s working with.

—“For the Uncompromising Zoe Saldana, Hollywood is a Battlefield,” Complex Magazine, January 2010

(Image Credit: Suede Magazine)