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Zoë Saldaña discusses the timely message of her latest movie, ‘The Absence of Eden’

Roadside Attractions

The subject of Zoë Saldaña’s new movie is very personal to her and her family.


The film The Absence of Eden stars Saldaña as a woman fleeing a deadly situation in Mexico for the hope of a better life across the border in the U.S. The movie, about the harsh realities of immigration, was co-written and directed by her husband, Marco Perego-Saldaña.

Zoë tells ABC Audio that she was compelled to “share the way that we are processing immigration in our home and in our lives in hopes that it continues to sort of encourage people to just talk about it.”

That conversation, adds Marco, is about humanity. “And the thing [that’s] really stuck in my head is no matter what situation you are, if you are a Syrian refugee or you are a European refugee … why we don’t grow from this experience, why we — the loop of this journey is going over and over and over. And we don’t look at each other like a human being.”

Zoë says the story she wanted to tell is also reflected in the movie’s title, explaining, “You will cross oceans … swim through rivers … run through deserts and climb walls to get to this paradise. But it’s not there. There’s an absence of that freedom. And it’s becoming more and more a utopian idea that … never materializes.”

Zoë speaks Spanish in the film, and she tells ABC Audio the opportunity to do that meant a lot to her: “It celebrates my culture.”

“I’m very proud of my heritage and my roots. But also, from a professional standpoint, I feel like I’m still able to grow and expand my craft. And sometimes defying sort of the gravity of language, for some people like myself, that has always been a goal.”

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