Aliens have long been the main subject of countless entertainment in all mediums. They can be adorable, like the titular wrinkled visitor from another world with healing abilities in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic. AND the extra-terrestrial. They can be a deadly and terrifying entity like the titular mysterious shapeshifter in John Carpenter’s 1982 sci-fi horror masterpiece. The thing. Or they can be something in between, as in another Spielberg film, 1977 Dating of the Third Kind.
Although the aliens in these films are artificial in nature, other films feature aliens played by human actors. Of course, playing an alien can be incredibly difficult. An actor may need to master an artificial language, and diving into a character’s mind with an otherworldly set of cultural and moral considerations is a daunting task.
Zoe Saldana, over the course of her acting career, has portrayed a handful of aliens and, as such, has spent more than her fair share of time sitting in makeup chairs. Two of his alien characters made Saldaña one of the most successful actors of all time from a box office perspective. She even appeared in three of the top five highest-grossing movies of all time. In the 2009 James Cameron film Avatar, she played the warrior princess Na’vi Neytiri. She also picked it up guardians of the galaxy Gamora’s role in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Here’s why Zoe Saldaña is a perfect alien actress.
Play as the mighty warrior Neytiri in the Avatar franchise
Although 13 years have passed since the first Avatar is out, the first sequel to the film is right around the corner, and James Cameron has already made it clear that he plans to do a five-film series about the plight of the natives of Pandora.
Neytiri is essential to the eventual victory of the Na’vi over the colonial human presence on Pandora. She’s a skilled fighter, and it’s her who trains Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) to fully utilize his Avatar form, as well as teaches him to assimilate into Na’vi culture. Although initially skeptical of Sully and his job at the Resources Development Administration, Sully, a former Marine, proves to be a formidable warrior. While Sully is in his Avatar form, he and Neytiri begin to form a relationship. Saldaña’s brilliant performance allows the audience to see the depth of the internal struggle between love and its culture.
Given that Saldana had to wear a motion-capture suit to portray the nine-foot-tall CGI-enhanced alien, it’s incredibly impressive that she still managed to bring such depth of emotion to the character. In the highly anticipated upcoming sequel, Avatar: The Way of the Waterr, which will be released in December 2022, Jake and Neytiri will have a family, allowing audiences to see a whole different side of Neytiri’s personality.
Playing the Brave Warrior and Guardian Gamora in the MCU
Gamora might very well be one of the MCU’s most compelling characters. Raised to be a ruthless killing machine by the villainous Thanos, she eventually leaves that life of villainy behind and teams up with the Guardians of the Galaxy. Although Gamora is more serious than her fellow Guardians, with the possible exception of Dave Bautista’s Drax, Saldaña is an actress talented enough to create some still humorous moments, mainly due to her initially hostile and insult-laden relationship. with Chris Pratt’s Peter Quill, or Star-Lord.
Through layer upon layer of dark green makeup, Saldaña delivers a powerful performance as her character seeks to emerge from her horrible childhood and become a galactic-scale force for good. His past still haunts Gamoraand Saldaña manages to show that trauma in her stoic performance while allowing brief moments of emotional vulnerability to crack through the facade of the stone-faced assassin.
In Avengers: Infinity War, her adoptive father, Thanos, throws her to death in order to obtain the Soul Stone. Losing this beloved character has been heartbreaking for MCU fans, and many are hoping that the increasingly multiverse-oriented MCU will somehow allow Saldaña to return to her role.
After portraying so many exciting aliens, it’s amazing the actor is still able to play human characters. Zoe Saldaña’s myriad high-profile alien portrayals are sure to make other actors green with envy, though it’s hard to deny that she’s proven herself uniquely suited to the task. If she never again signs up to sit in a makeup chair and adorn herself with prosthetics, she has undeniably cemented herself as the great alien actress of all time.