eternals screenplay

Chloé Zhao, director of quiet, introspective films like The Rider and Nomadland, is also the filmmaker behind the big, expensive Marvel superhero movie Eternals – a move that’s bound to give some people whiplash. But if you were worried that Zhao was just some hired gun on the upcoming MCU movie, Zhao is ready to set the record straight and confirm that she played a big part in the Eternals screenplay, too.

At the moment, all material related to Eternals lists Kaz Firpo and Ryan Firpo as the screenwriters. But there’s another writer who played a major part in the script: director Chloé Zhao. In a video interview with Margaret Gardiner (via The Playlist), Zhao said: “I am the writer on Eternals, the credits just aren’t updated yet. I don’t know what it would be like if I didn’t write the film, if I wasn’t at least a huge part of the writing process. So yeah I haven’t experienced that in my career, I’m scared of that if that happens one day.”

Eternals “features an exciting new team of Super Heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ancient aliens who have been living on Earth in secret for thousands of years. Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, an unexpected tragedy forces them out of the shadows to reunite against mankind’s most ancient enemy, The Deviants.” The cast includes Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Lauren Ridloff, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Lia McHugh, Don Lee, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, and Barry Keoghan.

And while there might be a knee-jerk reaction from some cinephiles about Zhao stepping away from great indie films to make something part of the bloated Marvel Cinematic Universe, Zhao is all-in on the idea, and has nothing but high praise for the Marvel machine:

“In the writing process, that’s sort of where I bring my sensibility in, that’s a huge part of it. And creating situations that will allow certain kinds of cinematic language to come in, that is something that I’ve learned from my last three films. I think what Marvel has been so incredible at – Kevin [Feige] and Nate [Moore] and the whole team – they knew from the moment I pitched the film, I really wanted the scope and scale at the same time as the intimacy. They knew I wanted both. They have been so incredible holding my hand through the entire process of allowing me to go as far as possible and as small as possible, and how that fits into the whole MCU. It’s been a pretty incredible process. You’ll have to wait and see.”

Eternals is set to open on November 5, 2021.

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