After thirteen years since its theatrical release and becoming the highest-grossing film of all time, James Cameron’s Avatar is finally back in theaters with its sequel. Avatar: The Way of Water.
The epic sci-fi adventure, designed to deliver an immersive experience like the first, It will hit theaters on December 16., just a few months after the remastered version of the first film was released. This time around, the sequel will follow the Sully family and the new threats they must face on Pandora, as we get to see more of the seascapes and underwater splendor of their world.
But before we dive back into Pandora and see its fascinating world once more, we had the chance to speak with some of the cast, including Zoe Saldana.
For Neytiri, in plain terms she is a warrior, she is so many things. How was the guy jumping back into it like for you? And also, finding her now in a new moment of her life…
Scary. It’s so funny, because when something is very similar to you, you can’t see it. And Neytiri and I, in a way, have lived parallel lives. There is, there is a level of fearlessness and rebellion that I have, as I suppose as a person, that Neytiri had as herself. And we were able to find a kind of affinity in that. But the leap of falling in love with something outside of you, who challenges you to see something you’ve never seen before, which has always been his dilemma. Give in to it, and then carry on, the fruits of that love, and… but that presents the challenge for her. Because forcing her to grow up is forcing her to love something that she has been taught to hate. And it’s, you know, it’s hard, it’s really, really hard. Also fear. In my personal life, when i became a mother, fear entered my realm. The fear of losing something that you love so much, and you spend a lot of your time creating these what-if scenarios that are just unimaginable. When I read the second script, who she was there I didn’t see then. I see it now, because my job was not to see it, my job was to be it.
Thirteen years have passed since Avatar, how have you changed as an actress?
I don’t know how I’ve changed as an actress. There is certainly a lot of a level of presence that I have today, that I had once before, and somewhere in between that can be confusing. But I’m happy to reconnect with that. Yes, I think it’s just talking about fear. Fear was a sensation that is paralyzing to me, still is sometimes. And now that I’m living through it, I’ve been a mother now for eight years, and I’m learning to handle that, that feeling, you know, enough, that I can let it go, because there’s nothing bigger and more heartbroken than when my son looks at me and says, “Mom, let me go, I can do this,” and it’s very much like that happens to the Sullies, all the time. Fearlessness and fear are two very humble sensations to experience.
What role does Neytiri now play in Jake’s (Sam Worthington) life?
Neytiri is not a voice of reason, it is an instinct. She is a force of instinct and heart. And that’s why she and Jake are absolutely essential to each other. And he is essential to her, and she relies on him for many things. Even while she’s fighting him over everything. And he has to be very patient.
There are many parallels between your character here in Avatar and Gamora, in the Marvel universe, which would be stronger?
I think the similarities between them is that their worlds have been stolen; they have been pulled out of their atmosphere and are forced into a life of just ‘war’. And that might not have been the natural course of life, if they had had the right to choose. Differences, I think Gamora is much more intent on doing, finding her inner peace. While Neytiri finds herself in chapter two of a very long journey with her anger and her inability to understand.
The actress, of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent, has become a household name in Hollywood. Earlier this fall, we caught a glimpse of Saldana in a less action-based character on Netflix’s acclaimed series “From Scratch,” inspired by the memoir of writer Tembi Locke.
Saldaña, 44, has worked her ass off since the beginning of her career, and it has taken her to figure out the type of actress she wanted to be and the type of work she wanted to be known for to get to where she is today.
If we compare the type of roles that Latina actresses were offered decades ago with the ones they are playing today, it cannot be denied that the industry has changed. But the changes have not only been the result of the changes that are taking place in Hollywood and in our culture in general; it’s also because Latina actresses have repeatedly advocated for themselves and rejected stereotypical roles that were holding them back when it came to positive and accurate portrayal, and Saldaña has been one of the leaders in this regard.
In “The Way of the Water,” we see Neytiri face great odds that, if not for her will to carry on, could destroy her. Audiences witness her ability to allow devastating loss to transform her into an even more powerful being, and we see the ripple effect she leaves on Jake and her family unit. In the end, we were left with another very good Cameron film about how love, strength and forward drive conquers all and how it can only be done with the help of the community and our sacred connection to nature. “The Way of the Water” forces us to take a closer look at the world around us and our relationship with planet Earth, with the help of blue and green people, 3D animations that practically fly off the screen, and a mystical storyline. which is much more reminiscent of our current reality than we want to believe.
As for Saldaña, it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down any time soon. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” will be released in May 2023, and is working on other productions, such as filming the third, fourth and fifth Avatar movies. One thing he has shown is that we now live in a world where Latino actors should not be pigeonholed into roles that depend on their heritage and identity. They can simply exist in the movies and TV shows they choose to be a part of, and that time is now.