On the PR trail for Guardians of the Galaxy, Zoe Saldana, who plays the alien orphan Gamora in the Marvel movie, has been surprisingly open about the sexism and ageism she's encountered in Hollywood.
In an interview with the UK's Telegraph, she declared, “When men – producers – say, ‘You’re old,’ to me that is the most laughable f— ridiculous thing a moron could ever say.” Saldana is 36. “By the time you’re 28 you’re expired, you’re playing mommy roles," she continues. "We’re not the ones putting ourselves in those places. We’re allowing ourselves to be put in those positions. I just won’t allow it.”
She's also intolerant of the routine casting of older men with love interests decades their junior. When offered a role opposite an actor 30 years older some time ago, she refused to be part of the problem. “I said, ‘Eurgh, no f— way.’ And they said, ‘But Zoe, he’s the hottest actor,’" she recalls. "I don’t give a f— how hot he is, I’m not going to endorse that – not until the day I see more romantic movies with Diane Keaton, Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep with young hot actors working as their sidekicks. Only then will I say yes.”
And it's not just the routine ageism against actresses that bothers her, but the overall crappiness of the roles generally offered to women: "I’d be wasting your money and your time if I played someone who doesn’t feel to me like a realistic woman. To me, a woman is not an incompetent, impotent, inept creature. I’ve never met a woman like that. Yet half of the scripts you read in Hollywood have [subservient] characters. I’m not a maid to anybody.”
After Guardians, Saldana will be next be heard in the animated Book of Life and seen in the Nina Simone biopic Nina.