After taking the world by storm with her modern masterpiece Nomadland last year, Chloé Zhao has returned to the world of cinema with a brand new Marvel project called Eternals. Starring the likes of Gemma Chan, Kit Harington and Harry Styles among others, Eternals follows the trajectory of two alien races who are locked in an ancient battle but somehow find themselves on Planet Earth.
“It’s just been such an incredible experience working with the team at Marvel,” director Chloé Zhao commented. “I want to be careful saying ‘my vision,’ even though I do want people to know they did support what I wanted to do. I want people to know that. But I also want to make sure they know that I got the support of this incredibly talented team, some of the most talented artists in the world. And it really is a village to make this film, but they did let me lead.”
Continuing, “Props to Marvel — from early on, they knew the way I wanted to make this film, how I wanted to shoot. It can’t be hundreds of people standing around. So they very much adapted how to run the set the way that I wanted to work. I’m still surrounded by 25 people. They just have armies, and each of them knew they needed to keep the army away.”
Eternals has received highly polarised reviews across the board, with some admiring the new direction in which Zhao has taken Marvel. However, others have expressed severe disappointment because of Zhao’s shift from Nomadland to the rigid spectacle of Marvel filmmaking. Despite all the comments about her directorial choices, Zhao has maintained that the one thing she definitely got right is the casting and that Harry Styles was the perfect choice for Eros – the brother of Thanos.
While justifying this decision, Zhao said: “Harry as Eros was very much a package deal for me. I pitched the idea of Pip the Troll [voiced by Patton Oswald in Eternals] and Eros to Kevin [Feige, Marvel Studios boss] a while back, and I love the idea of exploring an Eternal who is beyond Titan and who may have influenced Thanos throughout the years the same way Eternals influenced us, earthlings.”
Adding, “And then, it wasn’t like I suggested Eros, and let’s go find actors. I kept tabs on Harry since Dunkirk, I thought he was very interesting. After meeting him I realised he is that character – the same way I cast the rest of my cast. There’s so much of Eros in him. For me, if he says yes, and Kevin says yes, then it’s a go. And I’m very happy they both did.”
After an October premiere, Eternals has hit the theatres and has had a strangely ambiguous reception. Check out the new trailer below.