Zoe Saldana has nothing but glowing things to say about her "Crossroads" co-star, Britney Spears, 16 years after the film's release.
During a recent sit-down interview with AOL's Gibson Johns at Milk Studios, the actress looked back at the 2002 movie, which is one of her earliest acting credits and is still the only feature film that Spears has ever starred in.
"At the time, she was the biggest public figure that we had," Saldana, who played Kit in the film, recalled. "She was a really good role model, and I liked the fact that, when I got to meet her and work with her, I got to know her heart. She’s a really clean-spirited individual that really wishes well for other people. Unfortunately, that was overshadowed by many other things [later on]."
In the years since, Spears went through a public breakdown, welcomed two sons and rebounded to release some of her most acclaimed projects to date -- including an uber-successful Las Vegas residency. It's a comeback that Saldana couldn't help but commend Britney for.
"Now, to see her as a mother, and as a professional standing on her own two feet, it makes me so proud to know that I worked with her," she told us with a smile.
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Her experience with "Crossroads" wasn't only memorable because she was working alongside the biggest pop star of the century, though. The "Guardians of the Galaxy" star told us at American Express' Simplify Your Summer's celebration of the American Express Cash Magnet Card that the movie's themes -- and it's female-dominated cast and crew, which included none other than the now-prolific Shonda Rhimes -- proved that it was a bit ahead of it's time, especially when considered in the context of the current #MeToo movement and Hollywood's push for increased gender and racial diversity.
"There was also something really special about ‘Crossroads,'" the actress explained. "It was written by Shonda Rhimes, produced by a female, directed by Tamra Davis, cast by female casting directors, it had an all female cast -- and Anson Mount, of course -- but it was a great time. We were already thinking outside of the box. There were producers and directors and writers already believing and manifesting this moment, putting it out there in the ether."
"The story dealt with teenage pregnancy, rape, unhealthy relationships, identity, trying to find solace with your parents," Saldana went on. "The movie was a really dramatic movie, but I like the fact that it was resonating for young people at the time, because these were topics that a lot of young people were grappling with. It has to do with not overlooking what a younger audience really needs. In order for you to write really good content for a younger audience, you have to be young yourself and you have to put yourself in their shoes."
You can stream "Crossroads" on Amazon here.
RELATED: Photos of Britney Spears' evolution over the years:
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