Zoe Zandela star of the last two Star Trek movies and now with the release of Star Trek Beyond on Digital now and on Blu-ray and DVD 21st November it seemed like a great time to catch up with Zoe.
You've worked on the previous two films with J.J. How has it been working with Justin Lin?
Zoe He laughs at our jokes. He doesn't make many jokes. He's very focused, but so was J.J. He knows what he wants, and I really think he's handled the whole being a newbie and coming into a group that's already been a family - I think he's handled it with so much integrity. I don't know - I speak "Justin". I like his sense of direction. I like his personality.
Simon has been an actor in the other two films, and now he's also the co-writer of the film. What's been your experience with him giving you your dialogue?
Zoe First of all, I'm very proud of him. I really think he did a wonderful job. I've been a fan of his work, and I know he's written a lot of his work for years. To basically get to say Simon's words basically means a lot as an artist, as an actor. He's also been super careful and attentive and supportive and just completely open to any suggestion, any ideas that we have. So it's been an absolute delight to work with Simon, not only as my fellow colleague but also as a writer.
In this film, the crew spends a lot of time split up. Can you talk about your work experience with John and the relationship between Uhura and Sulu?
Zoe Well, I've known John for years, and I love his sense of humor. But I also love his commitment to his characters. Sulu is under a lot of pressure and so is Uhura. There's a lot of uncertainty, but we have to never lose that regard, that flair of confidence because we have so many crew members that are depending on us morally and spiritually. And it's also this conviction that we're gonna be okay. That if we stick together and we continue to do the right thing we're gonna be okay. One thing I realized in this journey is that Uhura and Sulu have a lot in common when it comes to just doing their duty. And just the faith - they're very faithful to their crew, to Starfleet, to what they do. It was really nice to get to see these two characters work together to get freedom for the crew. It was pretty awesome.
Early in the film -- and it's done in a very minor key - Spock and Uhura decide to separate. It's done in very adult, very reasonable way. Can you talk about why that was the right choice for these characters?
Zoe Well, first of all, they work together so a professional breakup, a mature breakup was the only way to do it. They've also been on a five-year mission so even though they're tired and extremely homesick and they make this decision, they have to finish the rest of the mission and not make it about themselves so that they don't stress the rest of their crewmates. So I really commend them for being so gracious in their breakup. But I also think that a lot of bigger drama starts to happen before there's even a chance for Uhura and Spock to have their own dramatic moment in public. I almost feel like if we had not been captured by Krall (laughs) I'm pretty sure there would have been some nasty exchanges on the Enterprise (laughs).
How was it working on the Krall's base set - that huge set out there in the quarry?
Zoe I think that when we see it in the movie it's going to be much better, and it will look much better and feel much better than the way it was shot. We were cold. We were tired (laughs). It was late. And Deep also kept on tucking (laughs) so we kept having to shoot that. It was one of those things where you feel like you are kind of in danger because they kept reminding us that they were pouring this acid that going to leak out of the gate knob in order for the material to start melting right around the time when Deep spits in it. Do not touch it because it will cause severe damage to your skin. We were so freaked out by that warning that while we were shooting we were keeping ourselves out of the way. So I really hope that when I see the final product I don't look like I totally don't want to be there. I don't want to touch that door (laughs).
What are some of the scenes that you are looking forward to seeing in their finished forms?
Zoe I'm anxious to see it, but I want to to see how it's all gonna look. I want to see the demise of the U.S.S. Enterprise. It's inconceivable to me, you know? So to now be a part of a storyline where that does become a reality - in Star Trek reality - it kind of took me by surprise - so I'm looking forward to seeing that. And I really hope I don't cry (laughs). It will be highly unlikely that I can hold back my tears. So I will cry.
The script acknowledges in a very dignified way the passing of Leonard Nimoy. Can you talk about your experience working with him, both as an actor and as an observer?
Zoe Graceful. Peaceful. Confident. Really open. He was very much a role model and embraced that position. There was never any ego. The very few moments that I got to spend with Leonard Nimoy, I will treasure those moments for a very, very long time. For as long as I live. It's a very big moment when an actor gets to meet an iconic actor that really figured out something special and pursued it until - he extracted all of the juice out of Star Trek and Spock. So much so that he's inspired people for decades. And to know that I got to share screen time with him before he left makes me feel really blessed.
Star Trek has been around for fifty years. What are the bedrock ideas of this franchise that keeps audiences engaged?
Zoe My opinion is that is used on pure intentions. Genuine intentions. Clean and sincere intentions of using art as a form of spreading positivity. And positive ideals into society. We've come a long way in the five decades that Star Trek has been with us. And yet at the time it was created, it did the unthinkable - which was unite all these nations which at those times couldn't even sit at a table. Couldn't even be mentioned in one sentence all together. And here we are, decades later, and it happened - now we all sit together. Now we all work for the sake of peace. That's a common goal. I feel that when you create art and when art is that pure and comes from a very clean place, it transcends time.
One of the new members of the film is Idris Elba as Krall. Uhura gets a very distilled version of his darkness. Can you discuss working with him?
Zoe He's still a character that I'm trying to figure out. Every time you meet a character who has an immense hunger for power, you have a hard time understanding where they really come from. You don't understand how the magnitude of that ambition can make someone feel. I've worked with Idris before - this is the third or fourth movie that we've done together - and I've been a fan of his work. So to be able to see Idris in yet another amazing role and for him to shine right through it even though you never see his face until the end, makes me feel really proud. And I really think that he did an amazing job with this character because Krall is very multi-layered. The fact that I still can't figure him out, means that Idris really played a very layered character. Very rich in context and subtext. It feels great. We had a great villain. But, then again, we've had great villains in every movie (laughs).
Can you quickly discuss the contributions of Tom Sanders the production designer and Sanya Hays the costume designer?
Zoe It always leaves me in awe whenever I get to see a duo like theirs be so synchronized and bring something that's so fictitious as Star Trek into a reality that is tangible. I get really inspired by working with artists like Sanya and Tom.
Tagged in Zoe Saldana