Zoe Saldana: the queen of film franchises

The actress turns 41 on June 19

Stars Insider

06/14/19 | StarsInsider

MOVIES Celebrity

Zoe Saldana is cinema's not-so-secret weapon. Only in her early 40's, the beautiful American actress has already made a huge impact on Hollywood. Better yet, she's starred in the most popular films ever. We suppose you can guess what 'Avatar,' 'Star Trek,' and the Marvel Cinematic Universe all have in common: they all star Zoe Saldana.

It's easy to see why. With a vivacious personality and a stunning appearance, Saldana is well and truly out of this world, just like her most popular characters. After all, for some reason, the actress always seems to end up in space. She's a blue Na'vi native in 'Avatar,' the green alien Gamora in 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' and a key crew member aboard the USS Enterprise in 'Star Trek.'

Saldana started her career by paying homage to her past. Her first film role was in 'Center Stage,' a drama that followed a group of young students at the American Ballet Academy in New York. In 2002, she gained a bit of star power by appearing alongside Britney Spears in 'Crossroads.' No doubt it was a critical flop, but the film made major money at the box office.

Coincidence? Perhaps not. After turning more heads in 'Drumline,' Saldana scored her first franchise role in 'Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.' Appearing as Anamaria, the actress made an impression in a film bursting with A-list talent, from Johnny Depp to Keira Knightley. It wasn't long before she played a 'Star Trek' superfan in 'The Terminal,' which helped her land her second franchise role.

Indeed, 2009 was a big year for Zoe Saldana. Her appearance in 'The Terminal' earned her a spot in the rebooted 'Star Trek.' Critics praised the film, as well as Saldana's performance as Nyota Uhura, a character originally played by Nichelle Nichols for over 40 years.

That same year, she would star in the most succesful film ever: 'Avatar.' She took on a leading role in the film, though 'Avatar' was more of a commercial hit than a critically-praised masterpiece. Saldana, however, still picked up several awards for her heartfelt performance.

Fast forward and it seems the skin's always greener on the other side, with the actress joining the 'Guardians of the Galaxy' in 2014. In the Marvel franchise, she plays green-skinned fighter Gamora. But unlike in 'Avatar,' Saldana achieved her out-of-this-world look by using real makeup and not special effects. She also returned for the film's hit sequel, as well as Marvel's record-breaking two-punch: 'Infinity War' and 'Endgame.'

Safe to say that Zoe Saldana, and her agent, deserve a round of applause. Click on to explore those franchise-favorite roles, and the sensational stories behind them.

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