Avatar: The Way of Water: Zoe Saldana on returning as Neytiri, sharing a ‘parallel life’ with the character

Avatar: The Way of Water is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The sequel to the 2009 James Cameron film has set high expectations ever since its trailers and promos were released and the film has already been deemed as a “visual masterpiece” in its early reviews. The Avatar sequel will see Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang reprising their roles.

At the global press conference of Avatar: The Way of Water which Pinkvilla was a part of, the lead cast of the film including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet along with director James Cameron and producer Jon Landau spoke about the upcoming film. It has been particularly exciting for fans to watch Saldana and Worthington return to their roles as Neytiri and Jake after the first film and despite the number of years that have passed by, the characters still hold a special place in their heart. 

Zoe Saldana’s ‘terrifying’ return to Neytiri

Considering how long it has been since the first film was released, Zoe Saldana was asked about what it was like to return to the character of Neytiri and how she got into the mindset of the strong character that everyone fell in love with in the first film. The sequel also sees Neytitri in a much different phase now as she is now a mother and her protective instincts towards her family are now a priority. Opening up about how it wasn’t an easy task to get back to Neytiri, Saldana said, “Terrifying. It’s so funny because when something is… very similar to you, you can’t see it.” 

Zoe Saldana on leading a ‘parallel life’ with Neytiri

Zoe opened up on how her personal life became the connection between her and the Avatar character. She said, “Neytiri and I, in a way, we’ve lived parallel lives. There is, there’s a level of fearlessness and rebellion that I have, as I guess as a person, that Neytiri had as herself. And I, we were able to sort of find kindred in that. You know, but the leap of falling in love with something outside of you, that challenges you to see something that you’ve never seen before, that has always been her dilemma. To surrender to that, and then to bring forward, you know, fruits of that love, and… but that presents the challenge for her. Because forcing her to grow, it’s forcing her to love something that she’s been taught to hate. And it’s, you know, it’s hard, it’s really, really hard.” 

Neytiri and Zoe’s parenting connect 

Zoe who is a mother to three also spoke about how motherhood became something that she felt connected to in terms of her character’s journey. She said, “Also fear. In my personal life, when I became a parent, fear entered my realm. The fear of losing something that you love so much, you know? And you just spend a great deal of your time creating these hypothetical scenarios that just unimaginable. When I read, you know, the second script, that was her, that was Neytiri. But I didn’t see it then. I see it now. I… because my job wasn’t to see it, my job was to be it.” 

Director James Cameron further echoed in on Zoe’s observation about experiencing fear as a parent and how it defines ones actions and added, “You’re onto it, I mean, when… you may be fearless when you don’t have kids. You learn fear when you have kids when you have something greater than yourself that you could lose. And that’s what both of your characters are dealing with, right? I hadn’t really thought of it in those terms, but that’s it exactly. (Yeah) You know, Sam plays a character that would leap off of a leonopteryx, go flying through the air with no parachute, to land on the biggest, meanest predator on the planet, to solve his problem. Would he do that as a father of four? I’m thinking probably not.”

All about Avatar: The Way of Water 


Avatar: The Way of Water follows Jake Sully and Neytiri’s life years after the original film and the duo have now started a family and are doing everything they can to stay together. However, when a threat comes knocking on their doors, they must leave their home and explore other regions of Pandora. The film will introduce us to the oceanic life forms of Pandora as we meet a new tribe of the Metkayina. The film’s runtime has been a topic of discussion as it is 3 hours and 10 minutes. Considering the film’s huge budget, it has also been reported that the sequel will have to earn USD 2 billion just to break even.

The epic science fiction film is all set to arrive in theatres across India on December 16. 

ALSO READ: Avatar: The Way of Water Review: Second time’s the ‘visual’ charm as James Cameron weaves epic cinematic watch

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