She's the wife of a millworker who goes up against a psycho Woody Harrelson; it's a change of pace from her roles as Uhura in 'Star Trek' and Neytiri in 'Avatar'
She’s been a sexy communications officer on a futuristic spaceship. She’s been a blue-skinned warrior temptress on a distant planet. And she’s been tabloid fodder thanks to an on-again, off-again love affair with one of the sexiest men alive.
But you won’t recognize Zoe Saldana in her latest film, “Out of the Furnace,” in which the Hollywood starlet masks her glamazon good looks to play Lena, a small-town teacher with a salt-of-the-earth millworker husband.
“That phrase ‘everyday people’ always makes me stop and think — I mean, walk out your door and you’ll see ‘everyday people’ every day of your life,” she says. “I’ve always been obsessed with, and enamored of, people who get up in the morning, go to work, do the best they can and give thanks for what they’ve got.”
At this point in her career, the 36-year-old stunner certainly has a lot. Beyond her obvious gifts and a burgeoning career that includes the reborn “Star Trek” franchise and the top-grossing film of all time (“Avatar”), the half-Puerto Rican, half-Dominican Queens-raised star married former professional soccer player Marco Perego this year after her two-year fling with Bradley Cooper finally petered out.
In the new flick, set for release on Dec. 6, Saldana plays opposite two brothers (Christian Bale and Casey Affleck) who get tangled up with a psycho hillbilly (obviously, Woody Harrelson) in an underground fight club. But Saldana — thanks to her Queens upbringing, she says — doesn’t merely fade into the background, but gives Lena the strength to bolster Bale in his quest for stability.
It’s a dude-centric movie, certainly, but Saldana brings a much-needed dose of estrogen.
As a result, she jokes, “It didn’t feel like a sausagefest! I’m an alpha, too — so bring it on, guys!”
Next up is her turn as alien warrior Gamora in Marvel’s upcoming comic-book adaptation “Guardians of the Galaxy,” the starring role in the Nina Simone biopic due next year (“That’s my real superhero movie! She’s my idol!’ Saldana says), and reprising her sexy Na’vi warrior in director James Cameron’s back-to-back “Avatar” sequels.
Saldana’s penchant for fantasy flicks is just a different way of connecting to real people with real emotions. After all, aren’t super-bionic green warriors like Gamora just the salt of their earth?
“Gamora doesn’t wake up every morning and go, ‘I’m super-fantastic!’ She just comes from a planet where everybody is green and strong,” Saldana says. “She’s just an everyday person there.”