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Zoe Saldana. “Emilia Perez, Jacques Audiard’s film, lit a fire in me”

After presenting at the 77th Cannes Film Festival Emilia Perez, Jacques Audiard’s new film, the American actress was the guest of Women In Motion on May 20. Where he spoke excitedly about the ups and downs of a profession for which he has an eternal passion.

9 minutes standing ovation. this is how it was shown Emilia PerezJacques Audiard’s new film starring Carla Sofia Gascon, Selena Gomez and Zoe Saldana. A memory that the latter will never forget, as she told on May 20 during the Women In Motion speech about the Kering group’s arts and culture professionals promotion program. “I don’t know what I was thinking anymore, but I know I was overwhelmed, for all the right reasons. When you put so much time and effort into a project, you can only hope it’s well received. Or at least not hateful. And the reception there was incredible.”

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However, when the actress read the script, the project seemed risky. Emilia Perez is a musical comedy, or rather an “opera” as Zoe Saldana likes to describe it, the story of a drug dealer who wants to undergo a gender transition and asks the lawyer Rita, played by the actress, to help him. “I also discovered it would be in Spanish. Filmed in Mexico. OK, what else? It was crazy.”

New York-born actress of Dominican descent, Zoe Saldana completely immersed herself in the role of Rita. Imagining a rear wall very precise, and was looking for what connects him to his mother tongue, specifically Spanish. “It was very liberating for me. I literally devour all forms of Spanish art. We have a very rich culture, wonderful writers, singers, artists. »


If Zoe Saldana’s career began in the early 2000s, ten years later, it was important roles in serial blockbusters (Star Trek:, Guardians of the Galaxy) who made his face a staple of pop culture. To begin with Avatar: , the first part of which was released in 2009. “From big productions, where I had only small roles, I switched to this role of a princess from a distant planet, which moved the whole world. I have traveled, many people have photographed me, I have had meetings with producers whom I would not have met otherwise.

If the actress is infinitely grateful for this journey, which she would never have dreamed of imagining, she admits that she felt a lack, a sense of repetition that arose over the years. much time. And there are so many things I want to do. I am also a 45 year old woman. I’m at the stage where the clock in my head starts ticking, a countdown that society sometimes doesn’t even force on us. But we are so capable of self-sabotage. We say to ourselves, “Oh my God, my time is up.” Here you have to ask yourself what you really want to do. You just have to keep dreaming. I just want to continue doing art. Otherwise, I don’t know what else to do. »

Relight the flame

When this dream met the scriptEmilia PerezZoe Saldana felt that the film was exactly what she was waiting for. She admits she used to feel “on autopilot”. “It wasn’t like I was faking it, but I was part of some really big projects and I felt a little bit restricted. I felt that I was stagnating, it made me sad. And I wasn’t doing anything to change that until this opportunity came along.”

Back Emilia Perez, Zoe Saldana reconnects with a part of herself. “Jacques’ film, auditioning for him, rekindled the fire in me that I was used to lighting on my own.” The one who burned as he struggled to get every opportunity, open every door, before flying to galaxies far away. And this audacity that he appropriates from childhood. “I spend more time in my private closet, to myself and my thoughts, than to the outside world. And it is very dark there, it gives a great feeling of loneliness. I don’t want to relive that, I want to rediscover that feeling of fearlessness that you feel when you’re a kid, when you’re not afraid of anything.”

What?Emilia Perez At or not at the Palmares of this 77th Cannes Film Festival on May 25, it will surely pave the way for new projects that she will helm alone, with her sisters as producers or with her director-artist husband. and sculptor Marco Perego, who accompanies her wherever she goes, along with her three children. And with whom he also cooperates. “He only understands half of what I’m saying, but that’s okay, that’s how we work. He is an exceptional artist. This year we co-produced a short film directed by him that was screened at the Venice Biennale. I stepped into his world. And he took a giant step towards mine. Supporting each other is normal: if he is a director, he can offer me roles, I can always work. He pushes me to surpass myself. We both help each other stay young.”

Making room for women

Today, Zoe Saldana’s career is undoubtedly reaching one of the heights that she herself did not expect. To put your voice at the service of the eternal struggle for greater visibility and equality. “We will continue to create stories about ourselves, for ourselves. for everyone, forever. But we need more female presidents. We need women in positions of power to hold the keys to doors that remain locked. For those who are already there. don’t just feel happy that you’re the only women at the table. Ask three men to stand up and put three women in their place. »

Without getting into a conflict between the sexes. “I’m not saying that our evolution should happen despite the evolution of men,” the actress clarifies, spinning the metaphor of a meeting room around which there should be equality. “The ideal is to bring another chair and place a woman there. And that when the man is introduced, he also comes with the woman. You have to understand that what we do is business, not just art. People who understand who artists are should help them thrive, make their ideas come true. These fields should be occupied by women. Who in turn should make room for other women.” Addressing men who have already understood the message, the actress allows herself a hint of humor. “Thank you, you are so sexy. There is nothing sexier than a man who makes room for women, regardless of their body type. And those who don’t want to, join us. We are tired of fighting. Let’s just grow up together. »

Source: Le Figaro

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