Before the success of ‘Avatar: The Water Sense‘ by James Cameron some of his stars, including Zoe Saldaña, who plays Neytiri, a native Na’vi, appeared in the media in an effort to promote the film. A press tour full of information about the shoot, and in his last appearance in The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Saldaña told how he began his journey to become a member of the blue world of Pandora.
Saldana described her casting audition as something that initially confused her, counting a series of phases that could leave many actors perplexed.
“First they told me that I was like a robot, a female robot. I thought it was like Alita: Battle Angel, but set like a jungle. And I was like: Well, that doesn’t really make any sense. As a warrior princess is a robot, an intelligent being, what is that? But Mali Finn, who was the casting director at the time, who would replace, Margery Simkin, would sometimes just come in and call me. And I was still living in New York at the time, and I was filmed a couple of times. Sometimes it was like, ‘Bring some tight stuff, I want you to climb up and do some cartwheels.’ And I was like: Okay. So I’d come in, and they’d say, Come on, we’ll just play. Let’s move some furniture.”
Although Saldaña knew how to function well in this process, he revealed that there was something that could definitely help her land the role of Neytiri:
“I feel like I landed the role because of my background in dance. Then one time they called me and I put myself back on tape to them and they said, Just make all these sounds thinking it’s for a James Cameron movie and I’m a robot warrior princess who’s in the jungle, and I’m doing, R , like (tongue rolling) getting my Rs out, I don’t know what this is, but I get it. They took me from New York to Los Angeles and they took me to Lightstorm. I was like: oh my gosh, I’m going to go meet my idol, James Cameron.”
saldana account the last phase of the casting and how strange it was to meet his idol:
“And they lock me in an office, which was kind of, kind of scary. They gave me the script. And the script was so fat. They gave me three hours to read it, it took me six. Because the whole direction that the whole world of Pandora described It was really weird to me. And English isn’t my first language, so it was kind of hard. Then Jim came in, and he was really nice. And he was like, Are you ready to get to know yourself? Whereas I was like: What?
Then he walks me to his office, I see a big ship’s wheel, I had no idea it was the wheel of the Titanic. I see the Terminator arm. I thought oh my gosh, I’m having an out of body experience.” His office was beautiful and big and with all the things he had kept from all his movies. And on the coffee table there was a sculpture of my character, Neytiri. While I am looking at the sculpture, he is sitting in front of me as if he is watching me. And I was like: That’s not weird, that’s not weird, don’t act weird.”
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“James Cameron asked me: Are you ready to know yourself?” Zoe Saldaña explains how her bizarre casting for ‘Avatar’ was
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