Zoe Saldana is calling out “Hollywood elitists” who feel that actors and directors joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe are selling out and looking for an easy paycheck. Speaking with Net-A-Porter, the actress explained that actors in superhero films often bare a great responsibility to lead by example for younger demographics.
“I feel so proud to be living in space, to be playing green and blue aliens, to inspire, primarily, the younger generations,” Saldana said, referring to her roles as Gamora in “Guardians of the Galaxy” and Neytiri in “Avatar.” “I remember what it was like to be young and to feel completely excluded out of the mainstream conversation of life because I was just little and unimportant and ‘other.’”
Saldana supported her point by referencing the many instances where actors involved in superhero films have visited sick children in character. Ben Affleck, who stars as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the DC Extended Universe, made headlines recently for visiting a terminally ill young Batman fan in the hospital. Actors such as Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland, and Chris Pratt have done the same.
“I’ve been in rooms with people in this industry who are great at what they do, but they’re absolutely elitist and they look down at movies like the Marvel films or actors like myself. They think we’re selling out in some way,” Saldana said. “Every time they speak I feel so disappointed in them, because whenever you see pictures of people in this industry who donate their time to children in need, it’s these actors that live in the world that you feel is selling out.”
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“That actor takes time out of their life and sits down with that five-year-old and says, ‘I see you, I hear you, and you matter,’” she continued. “Those elitists should be a little more cognizant about what playing a superhero means to a young child. Because you’re not just dissing me, you’re dissing what that child considers important in their world.”
Saldana also mentioned that MCU directors are made to feel like outsiders by the same Hollywood elitists when that shouldn’t be the case. The actress explains that similar to the actors, tentpole directors gravitate towards big budget movies for inclusive reasons.
“I work with filmmakers who gravitated to this genre because they were exiles in their own right, excluded from a mainstream conversation,” Saldana said. “They found their world and they were able to imagine the unimaginable. Everything about how they create, and how they invite characters to join them, is absolutely inclusive.”
Saldana reprises her role as Gamora in “Avengers: Infinity War,” in theaters nationwide April 27. You can read Saldana’s full interview over on Net-A-Porter.