Zoe Saldana On The Process Behind Shaping Her Missing Link Character

Zoe Saldana as Adelina Fortnight in Missing Link
(Image credit: (Laika))

Zoe Saldana, best known for playing iconic modern-day heroines such as Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy, Uhura in the Star Trek films and Neytiri in Avatar, brought her strong will to Missing Link as Adelina Fortnight, a unapologetic “Gibson Girl” who ends up joining adventurer Lionel Frost (Hugh Jackman) and a Sasquatch named Susan (Zach Galifianakis) on their quest to find his long lost cousins, the Yeti, in the mysterious land of Shangri-La.

Saldana has ventured into the world of animation before for Book of Life in 2014 and My Little Pony: The Movie in 2017, but she’d never been part of the process behind crafting a character with the stop-motion studio, Laika. During the Missing Link press day I recently attended for CinemaBlend, the actress admitted it was a bit more of a lengthy job this time around. In her words:

It took a little more time than the animation projects I’ve been part of before. One animation I did in a year and a half, this one took two and a half years I believe of going back into the studio and recording her voice. Sometimes the tweaks were happening because Adelina and the story was continuously being shaped even though [writer/director] Chris Butler had a clear idea of what the story was.

The actress apparently worked on the character with Laika for over two years! Now this isn’t uncommon these days with all of the detailed work animated films go through. There was a primary focus on getting Adelina just right. Zoe Saldana continued by explaining what exactly changed about her character through the making of Missing Link:

Her accent. At first Chris really wanted her to have a dense accent and then in our following recording session, he knew that he wanted to shave it off a little bit and still have Adelina feel comfortable navigating the English language and conveying her feelings. It was very important that her dynamic toward Lionel was evident. So, I liked those little adjustments that Chris continued to make for her.

Adelina is an immigrant and widow who is in possession of the map Lionel and Susan need to find the Yeti. She is nothing but a “damsel in distress” as she ends up going on the journey with them across half the world and serves as the voice of reason amongst the selfishness of Lionel and light and fluffy personality of Susan. Check out Zoe Saldana discussing her character:

Zoe Saldana’s character in Missing Link will certainly win tons of hearts when it opens in theaters this Friday but for a reason: her character went through a lot during the filmmaking process before arriving on screen. Tune in with CinemaBlend to see how Missing Link does this weekend alongside new titles Hellboy and Little.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.