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Zoe Saldaña takes on new role in "The Absence of Eden," directed by husband Marco Perego

Actor Zoe Saldaña on "The Absence of Eden"
Known for starring in sci-fi franchises, Zoe Saldaña takes on new role in the "Absence of Eden" 07:58

Zoe Saldaña is known for starring in big sci-fi franchises like "Avatar," Star Trek" and "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Now, she's taking on a new role, playing an undocumented immigrant who flees her home in Mexico for sanctuary. The film, "The Absence of Eden," is directed and co-written by her husband, Marco Perego.

The movie does not take a political stance, the couple says, as it showcases the polarizing issue of immigration.

"I was really proud of him, that out of all the subjects that he could be, you know, building a story around, he chose immigration and the angle of humanity, which keeps us very neutral, but also keeps us in the form of art of telling stories that are compelling about human beings, about people," Saldaña said.

The inspiration for Perego started with a personal project in 2016. He created a sculpture about immigrant children who died traveling from Syria to Italy. Perego collected 714 pairs of shoes to represent those children and filled them with concrete. It is now in a museum in Vancouver, Canada.

"For me it was, okay, how I can talk about humanity in more of a global aspect," he said.

Perego spent two years researching and traveling to help tell this story for "The Absence of Eden." He traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border with his co-writer multiple times.

"My biggest goal was to be as honest as possible when I was telling the story," he said.

Saldaña explained it wasn't only about sitting down with people who have been compelled to cross the border.

"It's also people who work in law enforcement that have a duty to fulfill and sometimes that conflicts with their moral code or how they're feeling in the core about what they're doing."

Zoe Saldaña and Marco Perego talk about their new movie "The Absence of Eden," on CBS Mornings, in which Saldaña stars and Perego directs. CBS News

Saldaña said they may be uncomfortable conversations, but she thinks it's important to have all sides to properly understand the issue.

"I feel like the issue of immigration has been an ongoing issue," she said. "I think that what's important in my opinion is for us not to forget as Americans that this nation was founded by immigrants."

As for working on set as husband and wife for the first time, the couple joked about a few moments they disagreed. 

"When she speaks Spanish, I'm in trouble," Perego joked.

As time progressed, Saldaña said, the two found a working rhythm.

"I feel like the more experience we have, it'll continue to get better and better," Saldaña said.

"The Absence of Eden" hits theaters on April 12. 

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