What can Zoe Saldana tell us about James Cameron's Avatar?

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Zoe Saldana did her best to spill no beans about her role in James Cameron's upcoming 3-D sci-fi epic movie Avatar, but she did offer SCI FI Wire a few spoiler-light tidbits about the making of the state-of-the-art movie and her role in it.

Saldana discussed Avatar in an exclusive telephone interview a few weeks ago to promote Star Trek, in which she plays Uhura and which opens May 8. Following is an edited version of our interview. Avatar, which also features Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez, opens on Dec. 18.

We know that James Cameron wants to keep Avatar as big a secret as J.J. Abrams has kept Star Trek, but what can you tell us about it?

Saldana: Oh, my God, I think Avatar is going to be so amazing. Jim is just an amazing director, and he's never ceased to impress every time. He's known for being a true perfectionist, and he will not deliver a story until he feels really proud of it. It's been a challenge, because we've been working for the last two years. Jim has been developing this [filmmaking] technology for years now, more than five years. It was something where we were learning as we were going. And it is going to be something you've never seen before, to the naked eye, to ... It's very much a James Cameron movie, where the essence is overall is about the future and machines and all these things, and also what happens when man gets ahead of himself and decides to take on bigger roles than his mortality can sustain.

What do you play?

Saldana: I play a character that lives on a planet that humans are inhabiting and are sort of ravaging. She's there with her family, and she's trying to fight to protect what belongs to them.

What was is like going back and forth between the Star Trek and Avatar sets?

Saldana: It was wonderful. I have to say that to go back between James Cameron and J.J. Abrams is not a bad thing at all. You're working with amazing directors, so you kind of forget about anything else. Once you're there with them on their respective sets you are a part of what they're creating. I really felt very privileged at all times.