Salma Hayek forays into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with the multi-starrer Eternals, directed by Chloe Zhao, who won an Oscar for Best Director earlier this year. Hayek plays the role of Ajak, the wise leader of the titular extra-terrestrial immortals who are living on earth in disguise.
They reunite to protect the planet from Deviants, their evil counterparts. Thanos was one of the Deviants, at least in the comics.
Hayek, while speaking to Variety, opened up about her fears about getting into the shoes of Ajak, literally. She said, “I am claustrophobic. I was terrified of the costume. I was terrified. Because if I cannot move and it’s kind of thick… I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m not going to be able to breathe. It’s going to drive me crazy. And I went to put it on, I found myself profoundly moved. It was a very strange experience because I didn’t expect it. I forgot about how does it fit? Am I going to get a claustrophobic attack?”
She added, “All I could see was, ‘Oh my God, here’s a Mexican female in this outfit and this is really happening. And yes, we get to be superheroes.’”
Eternals, written by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, also stars Richard Madden, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Barry Keoghan, Angelina Jolie and Kit Harington.
Hayek also talked about the sheer diversity of the cast, still a rarity among major commercial, would-be blockbusters. She said, “I think a lot of people are going to feel seen and that’s important and that’s what matters. It’s not diverse for the sake of being diverse. It’s the way she chose every single one of us that really creates a family for the purpose of the Eternals. For the purpose of the film. It doesn’t feel forced.” The first Eternals teaser dropped on Monday, which puts the focus on the group of superheroes. The teaser is being celebrated for its diversity, which seems organic.
Eternals comes out on November 5, 2021.