Zoe Saldaña Says Motherhood Influenced Her Portrayal of Neytiri in Avatar: The Way of Water

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It's not unusual for actors to have similarities with the characters they play. After all, it's important to connect with the person they portray in their films. Amazingly, Avatar: The Way of Water star Zoe Saldaña says that she shares a lot of things with Neytiri who she first played in 2009, and that her personal experience with motherhood has influenced the character as well.

Zoe Saldana joined the cast of Avatar: The Way of Water during a press release where she spoke about her own similarities with Neytiri (via The Mary Sue).

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“Neytiri and I, in a way, we’ve lived parallel lives,” Saldaña explained. “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 fruits of that love. That presents a challenge for her, because it’s forcing her to grow. It’s forcing her to love something that she’s been taught to hate.”

She continued by sharing how being a mother made it possible to understand Neytiri's perspective on parenthood in Avatar: The Way of Water.

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“When I became a parent,” Saldana said, “fear entered my realm. The fear of losing something that you love so much. You just spend a great deal of your time creating these hypothetical scenarios that are just unimaginable … You may be fearless when you don’t have kids, but you learn fear when you do have kids, when you have something greater than yourself that you could lose.”

In Avatar: The Way of Water, Neytiri and Jake Sully have formed a family with several children. However, their peaceful life is once again upended by the return of humans on Pandora and they will need to find new allies who can help them fight a common enemy.

Avatar: The Way of Water will hit theaters on December 16, 2022.

Related: Avatar 2 Star Sam Worthington Teases Jake Sully's Future in Part 4 and 5