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Star Trek – Zoe Saldana and John Cho interview

Zoe Saldana in Star Trek

Interview by Rob Carnevale

ZOE Saldana and John Cho talk about appearing in JJ Abrams’ new Star Trek movie, why they feel their characters are still very relevant to modern audiences and why they’d be happy to rush back and do a sequel.

Q. The characters in the show were defined by social significance. Uhura was a single black woman, Chekov a Russian on US TV mid-Cold War, so do you feel they still have the same significance? Broadly, tell us about your character and how she fits in with contemporary culture.
Zoe Saldana: I think it’s very important to inherit the significance that all these characters of different cultures represented at that time 40-somewhat years ago. I do feel very happy to say thanks to those bold moves by either artists or leaders throughout history, whether its politics or arts or whatever, I’m able to say that I was born into a generation in the States – I’m from New York – where these things were becoming much more normal as opposed to unusual or new. I do know that it was inspiring at that time, especially for African-American women, but also for women in general, because it could have been any woman – it could have been a French woman or an English woman. Just the fact that there was a woman who was not willing to compromise her physicality in order for her to command authority in a sea of men and to still deliver her duty as a lieutenant, and to be considered equal was amazing. And she didn’t need to look like KD Lang. By the way, I love KD Lang.

Q. There are several female characters in the movie but your character is pivotal. How was it to be surrounded by so many men?
Zoe Saldana: I loved it. It’s great. It’s not every day a woman can get up and go to work and not have to va-voom herself and get there to be surrounded by this hotness. But she’s still treated like one of the buddies and, at the same time, remain feminine. You can only do that in a very responsible and equal-like and graceful environment. So, I’m very grateful to be working with you guys.

Q. John, do you think after you’re kick-arse performance in Star Trek that none of your Harold and Kumar fans will see you in the same light?
John Cho: I hope they still like me even though I’ve taken a little bit of a terry from comedy. Terry… are you impressed? I’m not even sure if that makes sense. But I’m really thankful for the opportunity to jump genres and I think Karl [Urban] was saying earlier that JJ is a fan of messing with paradyms and I’m just happy to be part of that experiment.

Q. Will you be interested in coming back for a sequel?
Zoe Saldana: Yes, I would do another one. But I want to play Scotty and Simon should play Sulu.
John Cho: I would come back because, for one, we just had such a great time making it. My memory of our time together was primarily of laughter. But secondly, I just think for me I’m really proud to be associated with this franchise. It has something very positive to say. The Enterprise is essentially a group of people of different races and species working towards a common peaceful goal. I just think that’s timely and lovely and it just would be a film, or films, that I would be proud to have my son watch.

Read our review of Star Trek