See Zoe Saldana Perform Her Most Dangerous Stunts

This short video shows Zoe Saldana performing dangerous stunts for the Avatar franchise.

By Chris Snellgrove | Published

zoe saldana

At this point, Zoe Saldana has firmly established herself as sci-fi badass royalty. She portrays Uhura in the rebooted Star Trek movies as well as Gamora in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, she has returned in Avatar: The Way of Water as Neytiri, and thanks to an Instagram video from veteran stunt coordinator Garrett Warren, we can now see her perform her most dangerous stunts as everybody’s favorite blue badass.

Because the Avatar movies are filled with CGI, it’s easy to dismiss much of the action in this successful film as something done solely via computer wizardry. However, director James Cameron still required some of the actors (most notably Zoe Saldana) to do their own stunts in order to make the CGI renderings of his characters realistic. This video begins with Neytiri swinging through the air before quickly transitioning to Saldana holding herself up and then hopping down onto a safety mat.

We then see her being pinned down by a large prop object before running around in her motion capture suit, jumping off a small trampoline onto another mat, all while being held up by wires. The video is narrated by the movie’s stunt coordinator Garrett Warren, and he explains how he helped train Zoe Saldana to perform a number of crazy movies. But one of the most challenging tasks involved a simple bow and arrow.  

He quickly discovered that Zoe Saldana is lefthanded, and she eventually mastered releasing arrows with speed and accuracy. Because of this, other bow-firing Na’vi warriors had to also be lefties. And making all of this more difficult were the bows themselves.

zoe saldana

While he didn’t elaborate on this comment, Warren mentioned that he had to train Zoe Saldana “to shoot this bow and arrow more different than ever has been done before.” She learned this skill very well and even made director James Cameron lose more than a few bets when she was able to hit targets he didn’t expect her to hit. This ended up impressing the veteran director, but nobody seems more impressed than Warren himself.

In the caption to his social media post, Warren declared that Zoe Saldana was “a true bad*ass. 100%.” And he would know this better than most people. After all, Warren was also a stunt coordinator for the original Avatar movie, so he has been watching Saldana impressively bring her blue warrior to life since 2009.

As for Zoe Saldana, she seemed grateful for the praise the stunt coordinator heaped upon her. In response to his video and commentary, she replied with her own short post. It was only two words of affection for Warren: “love you.”

Ultimately, this is another reminder of how grueling starring in a James Cameron movie can be for many of his actors. For the Avatar sequel, Zoe Saldana and other actors had to receive special training that would allow them to hold their breath underwater for a minimum of five minutes. Saldana mastered this skill just like she mastered her own stunts, forever establishing her as this generation’s warrior queen of Hollywood.