Follow TV Tropes


Creator / Zoe Saldaņa

Go To
"I just want to be a part of great stories, whether I'm part of an amazing ensemble cast or I'm leading it or the antagonist or whatever."

Zoe Yadira Saldaña Perego (née Saldaña Nazario, born June 19, 1978) is an American actress of Dominican and Puerto Rican descent.

She is best known for playing Green-Skinned Space Babes. Most famous for appearing in blockbuster sci-fi films such as Star Trek (2009) and its sequels (not as a Green-Skinned Space Babe here), Avatar, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

With the record smashing success of Avengers: Endgame, she has the distinction of being the first person ever to get a starring credit in not only the all time box office champion but also the runner-up. Coupled with her role in Avengers: Infinity War, she has starred in three of the only five films to cross over $2 Billion at the box-office.

She has been married to Italian artist Marco Perego since 2013, and they have three sons together. The couple adopted each others' surnames as a part of their own upon marrying.


Partial Filmography:


Tropes associated with her include:

  • Creator Backlash: invoked Against Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
    • She said, "Those weren't the right people for me. I'm not talking about the cast. The cast was great. I'm talking about the political stuff that went on behind closed doors. It was a lot of above-the-line versus below-the-line, extras versus actors, producers versus P As. It was very elitist. I almost quit the business. I was 23 years old, and I was like, "Fuck this!" I am never putting myself in this situation again. People disrespecting me because they look at my number on a call sheet and they think I'm not important. Fuck you."
    • "I didn't like the experience of working on Pirates and I feel that it is my job to be completely honest. To me, that's what a Hollywood movie felt like. If that's what I have to witness, and have to go through, to do a Hollywood movie, I'd rather do something else. It was just too massive. You really felt the immensity of it. Just not my taste."
  • Dawson Casting: Played high schoolers while in her early twenties in Crossroads (2002) and Get Over It. invoked
  • Does Not Like Shoes: She goes barefoot in several of her movies, and seems to do so often in real life as well.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: invoked
    • She also had to gain weight for The Losers.
    • For Guardians of the Galaxy she had to spend three hours in the make-up chair every morning. The alcohol based make-up also resulted in strange green discharges for months. What's more is that Zoe volunteered to go through the make-up process, rather than rely on CGI or motion capture.
  • Enforced Method Acting: To prepare for Avatar the cast playing the Na'vi were put on a trip to Hawaii where they camped in the jungle and lived like a tribe would. Zoe even dressed up as a warrior and wore a fake tail like the one Neytiri would have. invoked
  • Fake Nationality:invoked She plays a Bolivian in The Losers and a Colombian in Colombiana.
  • Green-Skinned Space Babe: The most famous modern-day example. She has played one with blue skin in Avatar and green in Guardians of the Galaxy, leading to fans joking that she needs to play a red-skinned one to get all the primary colours in.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: Gamora claims she doesn't dance, and has to be taught how in the sequel. Zoe is a professionally trained ballerina.invoked
  • Mainstream Obscurity:invoked She's appeared in some of the biggest franchises of all time, but your parents probably couldn't pick her out of a lineup. Perhaps due to her frequent Green-Skinned Space Babe getup, or said franchises' Loads and Loads of Characters or maybe being Hollywood's reigning "Queen of Space" gives her little recognition outside the sci-fi crowd. The fact that she bears a striking resemblance to Thandie Newton doesn't help. She's complained that even her own mother gets them confused.
  • Memetic Badass: Did we mention she has a starring role in both the top two box office earners ever? Once people figured that out, there were plenty of jokes about how only another movie with her stood a chance of beating either.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Her roles in Star Trek (2009), The Losers, Guardians of the Galaxynote  and especially Colombiana.
  • Old Shame: invoked
    • Apparently she didn't like starring in Crossroads (2002).
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, not for the quality of the movie itself, but for personal issues she faced behind the scenes. She has said "they weren't the right people for me" and did not return for any of the sequels.
    • She also expressed regret for playing Nina Simone in 2020 following the George Floyd protests, which triggered a media reckoning to try to reassess any potential racism in existing media and prevent any racially insensitive practices in the production of future media, which would include casting actors that fully match the ethnicity of the character they are playing.
  • Pirate Girl: She played Anamaria in Pirates of the Caribbean and years later got bumped up to pirate captain in My Little Pony.
  • Romance on the Set: While filming The Words, she dated Bradley Cooper for a bit. invoked
  • So My Kids Can Watch: Inverted. She starred in Star Trek (2009) partly because her mother was a huge fan of the original series. invoked
  • Spell My Name with an "S": Her name can be spelled Zoë Saldaña.
  • Star-Making Role:invoked It's safe to say that Avatar raised her profile quite a bit.
  • Typecasting:invoked
  • What Could Have Been:invoked
    • Halle Berry was the first choice for her part in I Kill Giants, but was considered not bankable enough.
    • Aaliyah turned down the part of Maggie in Get Over It.
    • Zack Snyder said that at some point during the casting process for Man of Steel, it was down to Zoe and Amy Adams for the role of Lois Lane. Adams got the part.
    • Amanda Seyfried turned down the role of Gamora from Guardians of the Galaxy simply because she was uncomfortable with the makeup.