Zoe Saldana finds love and loss in Netflix’s ‘From Scratch’

Oct 19, 2022, 2:32 AM | Updated: 2:51 pm
FILE - Zoe Saldana appears at the Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022-2023 fashion collection in Pa...

FILE - Zoe Saldana appears at the Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022-2023 fashion collection in Paris on July 4, 2022. Saldana stars in the Netflix series "From Scratch." (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)

(AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)

              FILE - Zoe Saldana arrives at the Big Screen Achievement Awards during CinemaCon in Las Vegas on April 28, 2022. Saldana stars in the Netflix series "From Scratch."(AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
            
              FILE - Zoe Saldana appears at the Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022-2023 fashion collection in Paris on July 4, 2022. Saldana stars in the Netflix series "From Scratch." (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)
            
              This image released by Netflix shows, from left, Eugenio Mastrandrea, Isla Colbert and Zoe Saldana in a scene from "From Scratch."  (Jessica Brooks/Netflix via AP)
            
              This image released by Netflix shows Eugenio Mastrandrea as Lino Ortolano, left, and Zoe Saldana as Amy Wheeler in a scene from "From Scratch." (Stefano Montesi/Netflix via AP)
            
              FILE - Zoe Saldana appears at the Dior Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2022-2023 fashion collection in Paris on July 4, 2022. Saldana stars in the Netflix series "From Scratch." (AP Photo/Lewis Joly, File)

Zoe Saldana says filming her new Netflix series ” From Scratch,” stirred up emotions from her own life, ones she thought she had dealt with long ago. Her father died when she was 9-years-old, leaving her mother to care for her and her two sisters as a single mom.

“Grief is very deceiving,” she said in a recent interview. “There’s management of it but no closure.”

In “From Scratch,” Saldana plays Amy, an American woman who travels to Italy to study her true passion, which is art. While there, she meets a handsome local chef named Lino, played by Eugenio Mastrandrea. They fall in love and Lino follows her back to the U.S. Their fairytale, based on actor Tembi Locke’s memoir, is threatened when illness strikes.

“I knew grief from the perspective of a child losing your hero,” said Saldana. “I never understood it from my mom’s perspective, losing a partner, losing the love of her life and having to wrestle with grieving, but also having to welcome joy in your life because you have little co-dependents that need you.”

Locke co-created the series with her sister, Attica Locke, who also served as showrunner and worked with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine production company on “Little Fires Everywhere.” That connection helped put Tembi Locke’s book in Witherspoon’s hands.

Witherspoon was so taken with the book that she acquired the rights and made it an official Reese’s Book Club selection. She also brought it up to Saldana over dinner.

“She said, ‘I just want you to read it. For some reason it made me think of you. I’m excited about this book. … Read it and give me your thoughts. And if you like it, I think that you would be perfect to play the lead,'” recalled Saldana.

There are details in the series that don’t happen in the book, or that are changed, because the Lockes were mindful they were creating television.

“We were very clear about creating a psychic distance, if you will, to be creative storytellers,” Tembi Locke said. “We knew the characters were going to have to do things for the purposes of a narrative on screen that may not have happened in real life. We wanted the freedom and license to do that.”

It was also a blessing for Tembi Locke to have her sister spearheading this project that was so personal and emotional.

“She not only was a big voice of encouragement to write the book, but the opportunity to lift the story further and give it a broader global audience was very honoring, quite frankly,” she said. “It was a very exciting thing creatively to take on, but to do it with my sister, I knew that we could protect the essence of the book.”

For her part, Attica Locke doesn’t believe she needed to do much protecting because they were surrounded by a team and crew who respected the weight of the project.

“My sister, my brother-in-law’s memory, my niece. All those people I love in a way that I can’t put into words, but I can put into action. The love for (their story) got me up every day doing the hard work. That drove me more than protection because I think love allowed us to attract people who could either feel that or also had it within their own hearts.”

Saldana agrees. “Everybody on that set knew exactly what we were there to do.”

The sisters would check in with each other “when the hard moments came, and they did,” said Tembi. “We’d make a plan for how to handle it.”

For example, Attica Locke suggested to her sister to stay away from the set for hospital scenes.

She would say to her sister, “‘Could you give me four things that you want me to make sure that I convey to the director and to the actors so you don’t have to sit in the recreation of the most difficult moments in your life. Let me be the ambassador.'”

There was also joy and fun days. Part of the shoot was in Italy. A restaurant scene where Lino seduces Amy through his cooking was a highlight. (It also happened in real life and Tembi Locke writes about it in her book.)

“That was the first scene that I was like, ‘Wow, Eugenio,’ because Eugenio is much younger than I am,” said Saldana, who is 44; Mastrandrea is 28. “I’m like, ‘Oh my God, you guys hired a child to play opposite me. Like, I’m so sorry.’ I was very apologetic. He’s definitely the kind of man that reads older when you meet him, but when you speak to him, he’s so young and he’s so, like, vibrant and so beautiful.

“And I just remember that shoot, like, when we walked in, he was like owning that kitchen, and we were all like, ‘Bravo, mister.’ We were making him blush a lot,” she said, laughing.

Saldana also bonded with Tembi Locke over having an Italian husband. She married Marco Perego-Saldana (they each took each other’s last names) in 2013 and share three sons.

“In this particular situation, it was easy for me to pull from familiar territories. Not just in the good ones, but also in the frustrating ones. To be married to an Italian is not a walk in the park every single day. It’s yummy, it’s delicious, it’s romantic, but it’s also very challenging in the sense that you’re marrying an old culture that is very proud of its history and its art and its love and its food,” Saldana said.

“Tembi and I would have so many laughs, bonding in that sense.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Greece: Italian embassy vehicle destroyed in firebombing

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — An overnight arson attack destroyed a car used by a senior official at the Italian embassy in Athens, an incident that authorities in Greece and Italy condemned Friday. Italian Prime Minister Premier Giorgia Meloni offered solidarity to the official and expressed “profound concern for the attack against her, probably of an […]
1 day ago
FILE - A view of a bridge that has collapsed over the River Laagen, in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, Mond...
Associated Press

Collapsed Norway bridge had break in main span, probe finds

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The collapse of a wooden road bridge in southern Norway was caused by “a break in one of the diagonals in the main span,” the Norwegian Safety Investigation Authority said in a report released Friday. In the report based on a preliminary investigation, the authority said the Tretten Bridge had experienced […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Eritrean forces still killing Tigray civilians, report says

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Eritrean troops have continued killing dozens of civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and committing other abuses weeks after the two main warring parties signed a peace deal, according to an official document seen by The Associated Press. The forces from neighboring Eritrea, which has fought alongside Ethiopia’s military in the two-year […]
1 day ago
FILE - A station passageway is crowded with commuters in Tokyo, April 27, 2020. Japan’s parliamen...
Associated Press

Japan OKs $216B extra budget to counter impact of inflation

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s parliament approved a hefty 29 trillion yen ($216 billion) supplementary budget Friday aimed at countering the blow to household finances from rising food and utility costs and the weaker yen. It is the second batch of supplementary spending this year to help boost the economy. The extra spending, funded mainly by […]
1 day ago
Tribal woman Modhumala Chakma, sits in front of a shop in Rangamati district of Bangladesh, Sunday,...
Associated Press

25 years later, Bangladesh closer to peace in border region

RANGAMATI, Bangladesh (AP) — A quarter century ago, Modhumala Chakma says it was impossible to leave her house in the evening and walk around the nearby hills because they were controlled by a tribal insurgent group seeking autonomy in southeastern Bangladesh. “It was a difficult time,” says the 60-year-old farm worker from an ethnic minority […]
1 day ago
Votes are counted during the count at Northgate Arena Leisure Centre for the City of Chester by-ele...
Associated Press

UK opposition wins special election in blow to Sunak’s party

LONDON (AP) — Britain’s opposition Labour Party has handily won a special election for a northwest England seat in Parliament, the first test of voter sentiment since Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took office in October. Labour held onto the City of Chester constituency with an increased vote share of 61%, according to results announced […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Zoe Saldana finds love and loss in Netflix’s ‘From Scratch’