Zoe Saldana: I Love My Heritage And Embrace It; I Don’t Want To Whitewash Myself

Zoe Saldana has gone from playing a ballerina on “Center Stage” to a blue humanoid on “Avatar” and that is just the way she likes it.

During a Google+ Hangout with several members of the press on Thursday, the Dominican-American actress said that part of being an artist is the ability to be a chameleon.

“If I only want to do roles that are about me then I am not being an actor, then I am being a celebrity. I am not into celebrity s-h-i-t,” Saldana said. “If someone has the ability to see in me that I can play a character no matter what racial background, economical background, cultural background, gender too – because I would love to play a man one day if it’s possible – I would be honored.”

“My composition consists of African heritage as well as European as well as indigenous,” she continued. “The difference between me and a lot of my people is that I love it and I embrace it. And I don’t want to whitewash myself or wash myself of anything, but at the end of the day I want to be considered to be an artist that is gender-less, that is race-less, that is neutral.”

When asked about the evolution of Latina characters in Hollywood, the 35-year-old actress said she believes the business has evolved in a positive direction in the last few decades.

“It’s about having a generation filled with people that are going to fight for something or will stand up for something else,” Saldana said. “Obviously there is not enough material out there – there will never be enough material in my eyes for people of color, especially for women.”

Saldana said that instead of complaining about the lack of roles, she has taken it as a challenge and teamed up with her sister to produce material with more of a Latino angle.

She added that in order for her to be able to do that, she needs to “have a Latino community that goes out to support my work.”

Saldana also went on to say that when she goes to the movies, she does not want to pay $14 for a ticket to see only a male perspective.

“I cannot live in a word that will only serve one sex because, in reality, there are many masculine things that I just don’t give a s--t about,” she said in Spanish. “I want to see material where the female essence is felt, but not because we're delicate – I want to see some masculinity in women because I am that type of woman.”

“That’s what has moved me to begin a career behind the scenes,” Saldana continued.

The actress also took the opportunity to talk about her most recent film, “Out of the Furnace” in which she costars alongside Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.

In the film, out in theaters on Friday, she plays Lena Taylor, the girlfriend of Bale’s character, Russell. Saldana said that when she first read for the role, Lena’s reaction to her boyfriend’s story was one of the reasons she wanted to play her.

“The first instinct is to judge, if it’s something very unfamiliar to you,” Saldana said, was careful not to give away any spoilers. “That reaction was what made want to play her – in order for me to understand a woman like Lena, a person like Lena.”

Saldana continued, “She probably had experiences in her life that really beat down her spirit, that made her unable to cope with scenarios or situations.”

She didn't have a lot of time to get into character, Saldana said, because she had just wrapped “Star Trek Into Darkness” when she was needed in Braddock, Pa., a suburb of Pittsburgh where the movie was filmed.

“Sometimes when you don’t have the time or you don’t know how to approach a character – the most important thing is to be open,” she said. “That meant that as soon as I got to Pittsburgh – I had maybe four or five days before I started to shoot – I would drive up to Braddock and just walk. Sometimes you just have to walk and breathe the same air that people are breathing.”

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