Chloé Zhao Addresses Audience’s Divided Response to Eternals

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In an interview with Empire, Eternals director and co-writer Chloé Zhao addressed the divided response to the Marvel film from critics and fans, saying she thinks “the need for consensus is a hindrance for any authentic creative process.”

“Just like it’s a hindrance for living an authentic life as a person,” Zhao continued. “I have been on the receiving end of somewhat consensus, and divisiveness about my work. Neither of them has any real influence on me as an artist, because every time I’m lucky enough to create, I learn from the process. From what I’ve succeeded [at], and what I’ve failed [at]. But that learning process is a very intimate affair. Anything beyond that, for me, it’s just a part of the ecosystem that exists because of the nature of the industry we’re in. Like a flower or a rock, I acknowledge and appreciate their presence. But that’s as far as it goes.”

After talking about appreciating the audience’s passion and their desire to make sense of something that might be disturbing their world, such as “their beloved Marvel,” she adds that “nobody is one layer” and how they stepped out of the box.

“In this case, we truly stepped out of the box that I think the world put us in, and met in the middle because of our shared interests. And by truly doing that, it made a lot of people uncomfortable on both sides. But there are also people who are more comfortable with the order of their world [being] disturbed. And then they look at our love-child and go, ‘Oh! This touches different sides of me!’ I like that. So I completely understand the divisiveness coming from critics and the fans. Because when you take this to extremes that are seen as opposition – the world I come from and the world of Marvel, that has been divided in a way that’s so unfair and unfortunate – and to merge the way we did, I actually see the reaction as a testament to how much we had merged with each other; how uncomfortable that might make people feel.”

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Based on Jack Kirby’s Marvel comics of the same name, Eternals welcomes an exciting new team of superheroes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The epic story, spanning thousands of years, features a group of immortal heroes forced out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s oldest enemy, The Deviants

The ensemble cast includes Richard Madden as the all-powerful Ikaris, Gemma Chan as humankind-loving Sersi, Kumail Nanjiani as cosmic-powered Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as the super-fast Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as the intelligent inventor Phastos, Salma Hayek as the wise and spiritual leader Ajak, Lia McHugh as the eternally young, old-soul Sprite, Don Lee as the powerful Gilgamesh, Barry Keoghan as aloof loner Druig, and Angelina Jolie as the fierce warrior Thena. Kit Harington plays Dane Whitman.

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Eternals is directed by Oscar and Golden Globe winner Chloé Zhao (Nomadland). It is co-written by Matthew K. Firpo and Ryan Firpo and produced by Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige.

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