Eternals Director Talks World Building and Putting a Unique Spin on the MCU

Eternals director Chlo&é Zhao is someone that knows what she wants and does not just sit around waiting for it to come to her. While discussing her experience working with Marvel Studios, the filmmaker revealed that she was so set on joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe that she used the grapevine to her advantage, reaching out to the studio, rather than waiting for them to come knocking.

“I have been a fan of the MCU for the last decade. So, I put the word out there I wanted to make a Marvel movie and the right project came to me. I just wanted to work with that team. Again, back to world-building. It is my favorite thing. That’s why I love Star Wars. There is a world that is so rich. I wanted to enter it and see what I can do. It’s the same as what you’re saying. Can I put a spin on it while still being true to the essence of it? That’s exciting to me. It’s not that different than me going to the world of rodeo cowboys and saying, ‘My spin on that is going to be this,’ and it’s a collaboration. The chemistry of that, when it’s right, it could be very exciting.”

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Chlo&é Zhao will be putting her own spin on the superhero team, Eternals, which picks up following the events of last year’s comic book blockbuster event, Avengers: Endgame. The Eternals are a species of immortal aliens from a distant planet who arrived on earth thousands of years ago and have been protecting humans since the dawn of time. Created by the Celestials, a race of powerful extra-terrestrial cosmic beings who have secretly lived on Earth for over 7000 years, The Eternals must reunite to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants.

Working from a screenplay by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, Eternals stars Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Gemma Chan as Sersi and Kit Harington as Dane Whitman, aka the Black Knight.

Zhao has previously revealed some insight into her ‘spin’ on the comic book genre whilst teasing the sheer scope of the movie, with the filmmaker hoping to rival even that of Endgame. “I have such deep, strong, manga roots,” she said. “I brought some of that into Eternals. And I look forward to pushing more of that marriage of East and West. How much further and bigger can we go after Endgame? Because I’m not just making the film as a director. I’m making the film as a fan.”

While she does not yet have many credits to her name, Zhao’s most recent project, Nomadland starring Oscar winner Frances McDormand, has been receiving glowing reviews and currently holds a tantalisingly fresh 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Nomadland follows McDormand as a woman who, after losing everything in the Great Recession, embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling modern-day nomad. While the movie could not be more different to the Marvel comic book caper, Zhao’s sheer talent should provide a very welcome addition to the MCU.

Following a few release date reshuffles, Eternals is now scheduled for release in the United States on November 5, 2021, as part of Phase Four of the MCU. This comes to us from Variety.

Jon Fuge at Movieweb

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