Marvel’s The Eternals was supposed to hit theaters last year, but the pandemic let to Marvel Studios bumping the film to November 5, 2021. In the interim, director Chloe Zhao went on to become the first Asian American filmmaker to win a Best Director Oscar, thanks to her work on Nomadland.
But Chan was tapped to direct The Eternals before Nomadland went on to awards glory — and co-star Gemma Chan tells Vogue U.K. that choice shows much-needed change is coming to Hollywood.
“To be working with an East Asian female director — I would never have dreamt of that, even just a few years ago,” says Chan, who previously starred as a bad guy in Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel. In The Eternals, she plays Sersi, one of the god-like titular characters who have guided mankind for millennia. But for all her power, don’t expect to see Sersi one-punch spaceships like Captain Marvel can onscreen.
“She’s not necessarily the best fighter, she doesn’t have the most obviously impressive powers,” Chan tells Vogue U.K. “The main thing is she’s an empath. She has a connection with humans, and with the world and the earth. That is her strength, so I leaned into that.”
Chan says her goal with Zhao was to “create a nuanced female superhero,” which is “rarely seen in this genre.”
The Eternals also stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kit Harington, Salma Hayek, and Kumail Nanjiani.
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