24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Zoe Saldana

'Hunger Games' star on 'Colombiana' and life on the set

September 23, 2011 |  2:19 pm

Amandla Stenberg in "Colombiana"
Like a lot of 12-year-old girls, Amandla Stenberg considers herself a big fan of Suzanne Collins' "The Hunger Games" books. But that's where the similarities to average preteen life end.

Stenberg has spent her last few months playing two pivotal athletic film roles --as the reluctant participant in a violent arena game in next year's "Hunger Games" adaptation and as the younger incarnation of Zoe Saldana's avenging heroine in the thriller "Colombiana," which hit theaters in August.

For "Colombiana," in which her character escapes from the thugs who murdered her parents, Stenberg traveled to Mexico, Chicago and New Orleans and acquired some new skills, studying with David Belle, the founder of the climbing-and-jumping-based training known as Parkour.

"We worked on Parkour, running, jumping, climbing ... and he's the creator of Parkour, so I was really honored," Stenberg said. "I [also] had to use my jumping skills to soar through the trees. I did some training for 'Hunger Games,' but not as much as the other characters who really had some big physical demands. I did some running and flips and some tumbling, and that was really fun."

On the North Carolina set of "The Hunger Games," Stenberg said she has bonded with the other members of the ensemble cast led by Jennifer Lawrence as heroine Katniss Everdeen. She compared the feeling of working there to a sleepover.

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Zoe Saldana: 'Apes' is picking up the 'Avatar' mantle

August 8, 2011 |  2:22 pm

Zoe Saldana, who starred in Avatar, is glad motion-capture technology is spreading

While on the promotional circuit for "Avatar" a little more than a year ago, actress Zoe Saldana devoted a healthy amount of time to explaining how the performance-capture technology in the film worked.

The James Cameron-directed movie, of course, broke new ground with the technology, in which an actor's performance is recorded and later layered with computer imagery. This weekend, audiences embraced "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," a new film that employs a smilar method with the help of the same company, Weta Digital. Saldana said she's heartened by how quickly public acceptance has taken hold.

"Part of growing and being on this earth is evolving -- and not only do we evolve as people by trying to be better people, but we also want to evolve our technology and the way we view art and interpret films," the actress said from the red carpet of the Teen Choice Awards, which she attended Sunday night to promote her upcoming film, "Colombiana." (You can watch a video of the interview below.)

"Motion capture definitely is like this new wave of making films that still keeps that awe-ness of filmmaking without compromising that with our mortality. And you still get an amazing performance and everything."

"Apes" actor Andy Serkis' performance as a chimp  is already sparking award buzz, and Saldana said she's hopeful that categories will become "more open to the technological aspects, the same way you would want to see more comedies and more horror movies with awards."

"Colombiana"  -- an action thriller written by Luc Besson that is out later this month -- doesn't involve performance-capture technology. But Saldana said it blazes other paths.

"I like the fact that it's a typical story about revenge, but told through the eyes of a woman without compromising the level of violence that a theme like this would entail."


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Poll: Was 'Twilight Saga: Eclipse' robbed at the Teen Choice Awards?

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Zoe Saldana at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards. Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok.


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