Eternals Director Chloe Zhao Explains How Marvel Supported Her Vision

After watching Nomadland, the recent winner of Best Picture at the Oscars, you wouldn't think that the filmmaker who spent months on the open road shooting a movie with real nomadic people would be the kind of person to take on a massive Marvel blockbuster. But that's exactly what Chloe Zhao decided to do. The reigning Best Director winner is known for shooting authentic films, mostly starring real people, with very small budgets and vast locations. Those kinds of qualities don't seem to align with the glitz and glam of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Yet here we are, six months away from Zhao's Eternals arriving in theaters.

Zhao has a specific vision for her films, and it sounds like Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige were more than willing to accommodate. During a recent interview with Variety, following her big Oscar wins, Zhao explained that Marvel facilitated her vision from the get-go, so she didn't have to sacrifice her style for franchise substance.

"It's just been such an incredible experience working with the team at Marvel," Zhao said. "I want to be careful saying 'my vision,' even though I do want people to know they did support what I wanted to do. I want people to know that. But I also want to make sure they know that I got the support of this incredibly talented team, some of the most talented artists in the world. And it really is a village to make this film, but they did let me lead, yes."

Zhao likes to work with smaller, more intimate crews, and she was able to do that with Eternals, despite the film being a major Marvel blockbuster.

"Props to Marvel — from early on, they knew the way I wanted to make this film, how I wanted to shoot," Zhao continued. "It can't be hundreds of people standing around. So they very much adapted how to run the set the way that I wanted to work. I'm still surrounded by 25 people. They just have armies, and each of them knew they needed to keep the army away."

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Judging by Zhao's previous works, Eternals could be a pretty substantial departure from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it sounds like that's exactly what the award-winning filmmaker was going for.

Eternals is set to arrive in theaters on November 5th.