The upcoming MCU movie Eternals is set to introduce a fresh set of characters from the comics. Nomadland director Chloé Zhao had been tapped to helm the project. In a recent interview, Zhao explained what a big risk Marvel Studios has taken with Eternals by letting her shoot the action scenes on location instead of on a sound stage in front of a green screen as is their usual practice.
“Well, I do think, this is so boring you are going to roll your eyes, but I think Marvel, I think this film is very – I think they took a big risk with this one. I think they’re going to surprise you. I hope so… I think this is where Marvel really took the risk that we knew we wanted to shoot on location, because by shooting wide angle lenses on locations it’s going to affect how you do visual effects. It’s going to affect how you do the action. There’s a lot that that will feel and look differently. We shot mostly on location, but I love being on the stage, learning about the technology, ‘cos I grew up with manga. I always imagined I want to be a manga artist. So for me, I always imagined stuff that doesn’t exist.”
Zhao’s reference to manga comics is interesting since they have a highly distinct style from traditional western comics. In a previous interview, Chloé Zhao had cited The Revenant as another major source of inspiration for Eternals when it came to shooting the action scenes on location.
“I think for the action sequences, which I just had such a great time working on with such a great team, I wanted to reference The Revenant a lot. The Revenant is a film that I love so much. And I think we’ve watched The Revenant so many times, every meeting when we come to our action sequences because most of those sequences are shot on location. And I love how immersive and the way how you feel the dash and sequences in The Revenant. It’s definitely a film that we aspire to. And Marvel really, really supported that idea and really went for it.”
It will be interesting to see how Zhao is able to combine such different aesthetics as manga comics and The Revenant while telling a new story within the MCU formula. For now, fans are anxiously awaiting the release of Eternals, which has already been pushed back a lot, along with the solo Black Widow film.
Directed by Chloé Zhao, Eternals features a lead cast consisting of Gemma Chan as Sersi, 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 and Kit Harington as Dane Whitman/Black Knight. The film arrives in theaters on November 5, 2021.