By Lily Rothman
July 24, 2014

Actress Zoe Saldana, of Avatar fame, is going back into orbit in this summer’s Marvel movie Guardians of the Galaxy.

In this week’s issue of TIME, the star discusses why she likes movies set in space, her thoughts on what the future will be like and her favorite mix-tape songs. But even though playing the alien assassin-turned-hero Gamora took a lot of work (and a lot of early mornings in the make-up chair to achieve that green-skin look), Saldana says it wasn’t her most grueling role.

For that, fans will have to look a little closer to Earth, to her first-ever film role, in 2000’s Center Stage:

Guardians of the Galaxy arrives in theaters Aug. 1.

Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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