Zoe Saldana Talks Color-Blind Casting and The Decision To Make ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ A Little Darker
It feels like old news now when an A-list actor makes the jump to TV. But there’s something surprisingly fresh and genius about Zoe Saldana’s leading turn in the retelling of Rosemary’s Baby. The 1968 original starring Mia Farrow became a horror classic, however with Saldana, who’s Dominican and Puerto Rican, the movie’s being reintroduced to a new generation.
Rosemary’s Baby premiered eerily on Mother’s Day and ended Thursday night. Saldana spoke recently on her decision to come to TV, color blind casting and getting the hang of Twitter.
ESSENCE: You have an amazing film career, so why go back to TV?
Zoe Saldana: Television is creating amazing material right now. You have a lot of directors who are jumping from film to television, but you also have a lot of networks that are getting very savvy and understanding. If Rosemary’s Baby would have been on the silver screen, I still would have jumped at the opportunity of working with director Agnieszka Holland because I’ve been a fan ever since I was very young. Also, my sisters and I were able to jump on board as producers. That was a good opportunity for us as well.
ESSENCE: Do you remember the first time you watched Rosemary’s Baby?
Zoe: Yeah, I was with my mom. It was at our apartment in Queens, and they were watching it. I don’t know if it was dubbed in Spanish; I don’t know if it was on Univision or something. I remember feeling so scared, because I didn’t understand. I remember watching going, “What’s in the crib? Where’s the baby?” You never see the baby.
ESSENCE: Has Mia Farrow sent you any notes like, “Oh my God, I’m thankful you’re taking the role.”
Zoe: No, and if she ever did on Twitter, I wouldn’t know how to find it. I’m learning. I’ve been learning for three years, how to send a tweet, and it’s very difficult. I know that she is aware of it. I just hope that she likes it when she sees it.
ESSENCE: Was there always the idea the new Rosemary would be a woman of color? Was it always planned?
Zoe: No, I think that the people they had gone to before were Caucasian. They tossed my name and they all said, “Sure.” They sent me the script; I said no. They said, “Read it. We’ll talk with Agnieszka. These are the changes I want.” I met the NBC executives. I had dinner with the Lionsgate executives and with my sisters, and that was the last thing we ever covered.
The fact that it was one of the last things for us to go, “By the way …”, and it was after the second glass of champagne, it felt right to me that it wasn’t that we were making an affirmative, active decision. It was just based on people respecting my body of work, and me respecting the network and the studio. I did like them a great deal.
Read more about Zoe’s favorite scary movie on Essence.