The superhero film genre has become one of the most popular – and most profitable – genres in Hollywood, but that hasn’t stopped some people in the film industry from not embracing the genre.
Speaking with Net-A-Porter, Zoe Saldana, who plays Gamora in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War, lashed out at people in the industry who simply see starring in superhero films as “selling out” and talked about the importance of these roles for kids.
I’ve been in rooms with people in this industry who are great at what they do, but they’re absolutely elitist and they look down at movies like the Marvel films or actors like myself. They think we’re selling out in some way. Every time they speak I feel so disappointed in them, because whenever you see pictures of people in this industry who donate their time to children in need, it’s these actors that live in the world that you feel is selling out. It’s these actors that understand the role that they play inspires a five-year-old who has one dying wish to meet a superhero. That actor takes time out of their life and sits down with that five-year-old and says, ‘I see you, I hear you, and you matter.’
Those elitists should be a little more cognizant about what playing a superhero means to a young child. Because you’re not just dissing me, you’re dissing what that child considers important in their world. I feel so proud to be living in space, to be playing green and blue aliens, to inspire, primarily, the younger generations. I remember what it was like to be young and to feel completely excluded out of the mainstream conversation of life because I was just little and unimportant and ‘other’.
Saldana makes various valid points in her comments about the impact these characters have on young children. From a child’s point of view, superheroes are larger than life and they get excited when they see their heroes take the time to spend time with them – whether it’s Chris Evans dressing up as Captain America to go to a children’s hospital or Ben Affleck Facetimes a young, sick boy who loves Batman.
While the film industry may never recognize superhero films on the level of other “prestige” flicks, the fact that these men and women who work on these films recognize that these characters have a higher calling than just winning awards and making money is very heroic in itself.