Washington (ANI): Actress Zoe Saldana has signed on to star in the new 'Star Trek" movie to be helmed by director JJ Abrams. Saldana will be playing Uhura, the communications officer on the USS Enterprise. In original TV series, Uhura - which means freedom in Swahili - rose to the rank of commander. The character was played by Nichelle Nichols in the series. Saldana is currently filming James Cameron's sci-fi tentpole "Avatar."
Abrams is also producing "Star Trek" through his Paramount-based Bad Robot shingle. The movie will revolve around the crew's early days at Starfleet Academy. Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci wrote the screenplay and will exec produce alongside Bryan Burk and Damon Lindelof. The film is set for a Christmas Day 2008 release.