Eternals cinematography Chloé Zhao Salma Hayek Ajax

The Marvel “formula” is pretty well established, especially in visual style. The films, while varying in many ways, have a strikingly similar style in direction and color, but it sounds like Eternals may be shaking this up as director Chloé Zhao shot the film very differently than other Marvel films. We’ve already heard from her that she was given full creative freedom after delivering her pitch for the film and that she’s using the same camera rig that she used for her acclaimed Nomadland, but in a recent interview with Variety (via IGN), Salma Hayek laid out more details.

“It has a completely different DNA from the [other Marvel movies],” Hayek, who is playing the Eternal Ajax, said in the interview. “It’s shot different than all the other ones. It’s in real locations and they found some crazy extraterrestrial-looking locations. I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about what they do with the camera, but… it’s not mostly done in post. The cinematography is incredible.”

As one of the earliest Phase 4 films, launching alongside the MCU’s varying TV efforts, it makes sense for the movie to change things up a bit. Eternals might be the film to do it. The movie is about the Eternals themselves, an immortal alien race, some of whom live on Earth, created by the Celestials. They must team up to defeat another immortal alien race, the Deviants, all while expanding the MCU’s universe even deeper into space. The cast is crammed full of A-list actors, including Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, and Kit Harrington.

Filming on location for the most part will definitely be a drastic change, especially for the more sci-fi-leaning Marvel films. For anyone that has seen Nomadland, Zhao’s camerawork is stunning, often immersing the audience just as much as the performances and sweeping American vistas. Just how that will translate into a Marvel film, let alone one with a Bollywood dance sequence, will be quite interesting. However, a full break from “the formula” seems unlikely.

After multiple delaysEternals is set to release on Nov. 5, 2021.

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is a film critic with more than a decade of experience reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He runs the website Flixist.com and will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.

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