Not six months have passed since Chloé Zhao took to the stage to accept the Oscar for Best Director, cementing her record for the most prizes won by a filmmaker for a single awards season. Nomadland‘s wins were history-making, and judging by her Marvel follow-up, Eternals, the director isn’t finished shaking things up just yet.
Speaking with Empire as part of the new Ghostbusters Celebration issue, Zhao spoke about the risk-taking that has been involved in making the upcoming epic. “It’s like sailing,” she says. “You don’t want to take a little journey around the harbour – you want to go out there into uncharted waters to see what you can find.”
Eternals boasts a gargantuan cast that includes Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan, Richard Madden and Kumail Nanjiani. Set in the present day, the film follows an immortal alien race who are dutifully called out of their secret lives in a bid to save humanity from an army of evil demons named the Deviants.
Along with bringing a pioneering new look to the MCU – Zhao includes The Revenant and The Tree Of Life amongst her inspirations – Eternals promises to bring plenty of drama. Chan describes the narrative as “akin to stories of Greek and Roman gods, who live very human lives with human traits, rivalries, jealousies and frailties.”
Zhao also isn’t one to shy away from murky principles, even alluding to the idea that Thanos, Marvel supervillain and the poster boy for destruction, was misunderstood. “I loved the idea of continuing to challenge the straight-forward morality we’re used to in the superhero genre,” she says.
Read Empire’s full Eternals story in the Ghostbusters Celebration issue – on newsstands from Thursday 30 September, and available to pre-order online here. Eternals will be in UK cinemas on 5 November.