What Zoe Saldana Discovered About Herself While Writing Her Very Brave, Ground-Up International Love Story
The 44-year-old actress tells PEOPLE she felt a kinship with her character in From Scratch, inspired by the novel of the same name by Tembi Locke, about a Black American woman’s experience of marrying into an unacceptable Sicilian family.
It’s a constant for me that I find humor in the struggles she faced as a non-Italian lady married to a very Italian man. I adore how this series of events just keeps going on and on. Saldana states that over time, she has developed the ability to accept a significant portion of it.
The Avatar actress married Italian artist Marco Perego in 2013. They have three children: Zen, 5, and twins Bowie Ezio and Cy Aridio, 7. When you marry somebody who brings 4,000 years’ worth of history, art, and philosophy into the relationship, it’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure. And great meals. It is a lot to deal with in just one day.
Amahle Amy Wheeler, played by Saldana in the film From Scratch, is an American student who travels to Italy to participate in an exchange program. While there, she meets and falls in love with Lino, a Sicilian cook (Eugenio Mastrandrea). Even though his traditional family is suspicious of their relationship, they can draw closer together after Lino is given a diagnosis with a life-threatening disease.
The film is based on Locke’s memoir From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home, published in 2019. It tells the narrative of the actress’s relationship with her late husband Saro, with whom she had a daughter named Zoela, and how, after his death, she tracked down his relatives in Sicily.
Saldana explains that Saro had left everything to be with her, so they were constantly in a position of having to “start from scratch,” which explains why she loved, appreciated, and had so much sympathy for him.