With a property like Marvel's Eternals, there are dozens of potential characters for filmmakers to draw from. That's why when Angelina Jolie was first approached to appear in the Chloe Zhao feature, she was originally set to have a much smaller role as one of the most powerful Eternals behind the scenes. As development on the movie went along, however, the character's role became much bigger and now, Jolie has top billing on the film.
"When we first talked to her, I think she thought, well, I know she thought we wanted her for a very, very small cameo," Eternals producer Nate Moore said during a press set visit last January. "So she was sort of surprised at the size of the role, and really threw herself into Thena and creating a movement style for Thena and a fighting style for Thena that was unique."
Moore went on to namedrop some of Jolie's biggest hits in the past, saying she worked at length to make Thena different than any of her other action roles.
"She's been through it with Salt and with Tomb Raider and Gone in 60 Seconds, all these movies. So and we sort of collaborated with her and our stunt coordinator to create a movement style that did feel different because she has done so much," the producer added. "She could say, 'Well, I've done this before. What if we tried this other thing?' And part of that was developing a weapon system that she could train and become sort of fluent in, because she hadn't done a lot of swordplay and she hadn't done a lot of staff fighting and things like that."
In the film, Thena's powers are similar to those of Hela's (Cate Blanchett) in Thor: Ragnarok. Thena's able to manifest various different weapons right in the palm of her hands.
Eternals, which was helmed by Academy Award-winning director Chloé Zhao, stars Gemma Chan as Sersi, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Barry Keoghan as Druig, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Salma Hayek as Ajak, and Kit Harington as Dane Whitman.
Eternals is currently set for release on November 5th.
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