From variants to sitcom magic to mystical new realms, this has been quite a year for the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. In fact, some of the biggest surprises have been saved for last, with two more movies and another Disney+ series on the way. Though two of those titles will revolve around familiar faces — Spider-Man and Doctor Strange in No Way Home and Hawkeye in, uh, Hawkeye — one project will introduce an entirely new group of heroes to the fold: the Eternals.
Directed and co-written by Nomadland Oscar winner Chloé Zhao, Eternals marks the first MCU film to revolve around a new super-powered crew since Guardians of the Galaxy in 2014. Leading the group is Ajak, an Eternal with healing powers played by Salma Hayek. Bustle caught up with Hayek during a visit to the film’s London set in early 2020, where the Oscar-nominated actor opened up about working with her new Marvel family.
“It’s beautiful because it’s such a really diverse cast,” she tells Bustle, “and I think in a way, when you are used to being the diverse part of something, then it’s something that unifies you.” She adds, “We’re all very different, but at the same time, we were all the same because we’re used to being the diverse part of everything. And so we’re also very used to adjusting and embracing, and it really felt like a family because of it.”
That family may be new to viewers, but the actors playing them comprise a familiar, star-studded cast. The film stars Angelina Jolie as Thena; Gemma Chan as Sersi; Richard Madden as Ikaris; Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo; Lauren Ridloff as Makkari; Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos; Lia McHugh as Sprite; Don Lee as Gilgamesh; Barry Keoghan as Druig; and Kit Harrington as Dane Whitman, who is not actually an Eternal but is dating one.
Hayek forged relationships with the entire cast, she says, including “a very special connection” with Jolie. The Frida star acknowledges that she (like the rest of the world) has heard so much about Jolie over the years, but she discovered they were actually “kindred spirits in so many ways.”
“We really felt connected,” Hayek says, explaining how they care about similar things and have the same interests. “She shares my sense of humor, which I would have never imagined. She actually laughs at my stupid jokes, and she gets them. So, it can be very intense, or very funny, or just very warm.” When it comes to the topic of parenting, Hayek calls Jolie a “fantastic mother” who became her “go-to person for advice because she loves children and her relationship with her children is beautiful, and her children are amazing.”
Fans will have to wait for Eternals to premiere to see if (or how) this new group interacts with the heroes we already know and love. But should there ever be an Eternals-Avengers crossover in the future, Hayek has one collab in mind, though she acknowledges it may be for a “shallow” reason. “I’m really good friends with Zoe Saldana,” she explains. “I don’t remember the name of the green girl. Gamora ... I think it would be really cool to have the two Latina superheroes going on some special mission. But nobody’s talking about the fact that they’re Latinas, you know. I’m just Ajak, and she’s just green.” OK, yes, please. Someone call Kevin Feige!
Eternals hits theaters Nov. 5, and tickets are on sale now.