*Without a doubt one of the main attractions to the testosterone driven “The Losers” is a fierce fighting female. Zoe Saldana (Aisha) not only stars in the biggest grossing film ever made, but stars in last year’s “Star Trek,” one of the best remakes ever made.
Of the much talked about fight scenes in “The Losers,” Saldana recalls her training.
“The stunt coordinator that worked on the ‘The Losers’ was the stunt coordinator on ‘Avatar.’ So he’s the one that has beaten me up and knows exactly what my body can do at times when I didn’t even know I could do it myself.
“We basically just changed a couple of things because I had to substitute the bow and the arrow for the guns and the knives. Because we really wanted to get that fight scene to be amazing, Sylvain (director) wanted it to be violent. He always said to us, ‘Well, they’re beating the crap out of each other, but they’re also getting to know each other. So, it’s sort of like a conversation. A very violent conversation.’ And Jeffrey (Clay) and I really wanted to capture that.”
Of the off-screen relationships between the cast members, Jeffrey Dean Morgan related how the fighting helped improve the esprit de corps.
“We really bonded as a cast. That chemistry you see on screen we got from fight training. We kind of fell in love with each other while beating the crap out of each other, which was pretty cool.”
Although outnumbered by men, Saldana was up to the task.
“When you’re the only girl in a cast, you have twice as much work to do because you don’t want to be singled out. You’re already the only girl. So, if you’re the one that says, ‘I can’t do this or whatever, it’s gonna be like, ‘Oh, my gosh, she’s wimping out ’cause she’s a girl,’ so I toughed it. I really wanted to impress the guys and I like being around men. I’ve always held my own. Jeffrey was absolutely amazing in the fight scene. There were a couple of moments where it was like, ‘Oh, my God. Did I really hit you that hard in your head?’ Or he would look at me and say, ‘Did I slam you really hard?’ and I would just be like, ‘Uh, yes.’ But it was fun. I liked it.”
All actors strive to have diversity in their roles, but Saldana does relish her strong characters.
“You want to play great characters but right now I feel that Hollywood has made a living out of portraying women to be such canker sores. We just have to be rescued all the time ’cause we’re so incompetent. When in reality sometimes art needs to reflect what’s going on in real life. In today’s society, especially in American society, women are doing so much. I’m from Queen’s (New York City). I’m not from that era where I was baking cookies. I do it. I think it’s great, whatever. But, I grew up in Queen’s in the ’80’s where women were the caretakers and they were the soldiers. And I’m in that phase right. I like holding the gun. I like participating in the saving of the day because I think it’s really sexy and it’s kind of like my mom.”
Not taking anything for granted, Saldana acknowledges her past.
“I know that I don’t only speak for myself when I say that, as artists, you can only ask for one thing and it’s just to be able to pay the bill. So, when you get to do that and also be recognize4d by amazing producers and directors for all the work that you put, it’s amazing. Oh, God, it’s wonderful the respect of your peers. Of directors like Steven Spielberg and with Sylvain, it was like, ‘Dude, I saw you in ‘Haven.’ I had done ‘Haven’ in 2004 and Sylvain and I were waiting for the opportunity to work together in 2009. You just have to be patient. It’s also about, ‘Why did I become an artist?’ I didn’t become an artist because I wanted people to recognize my face before they recognize my work. I wanted them to know my work. So, it’s really validating.”
Will Saldana be filling the shoes of the stellar Uhura again?
“Trust me,” she assured, “I email J.J. every other day just like everyone else who enjoyed that ‘Star Trek’ journey. And we’re just like, ‘What the F’ dude?’ But he’s J.J. He’s an amazingly talented man. Full of surprises, that’s the one thing that we know. And I heard through a little grapevine that it might be early next year that we all are going to be back on the Enterprise, so I’m really excited about that.”
“Coming from a theatre background,” Columbus Short (Pooch) explains, “you have to do it all, sing, dance and act. But right now I just want to focus on acting until I get where I wanna be. That’s gonna come, it’s gonna come and when it comes, it’s gonna be in God’s timing.”
Short gets into some serious smack downs also in “The Losers.” Not surprisingly, Short sees Denzel Washington as a role model. Washington has done it all-drama, comedy and action. “I see Denzel as a blueprint,” Short says.He amazing. He’s worked with Tony Scott, Spike Lee and basically Ridley (Scott) and that’s how he’s kind of done his movies. I think that Sylvan is one of those directors and I told him from the beginning that he made my career.
“I wouldn’t be sitting here unless Sylvain was like, ‘I want this kid for ‘Stomp the Yard.’ I had no real resume as a leading man and he took the chance. So to work with him again was great. I’m gonna be working with him for the rest of my career. As his career grows, I feel like he’s going to bring me along with him.”