Salma Hayek Thought Marvel Was Punking Her About Eternals

When actress Salma Hayek was first offered a role in the upcoming Marvel Studios film Eternals, she thought someone was playing a joke on her. They weren't able to give her any information in the initial offer and she felt that, at this stage of her life and career, Marvel offering her a lead role in a brand new franchise was probably someone pulling a prank. However, as we know now, that wasn't at all the case.

Hayek has taken a lead role in a new Marvel franchise, playing Ajak in Chloe Zhao's Eternals, which hits theaters in November. During a new interview with Variety, Hayek opened up about that initial call from Marvel.

"It never crossed my mind to be in a Marvel movie," Hayek said. "I guess that I thought that boat had sailed, and it was an absolute shock. All of a sudden, I got a call: 'They want to talk to you about a new franchise.' And I was like, 'What?' And I said OK, but they don't tell you any information until you're on the call. It's kind of hard to be an action hero if you're Mexican. It's really hard to be an action hero if you're a Mexican and a woman. But to be an action hero, being Mexican, a woman, and my age, it felt like they were punking me. And then the worst part is that I was one of the first people they cast. I had to keep my mouth shut for so many months. I couldn't tell a soul. And I couldn't wait for the day that I could say it."

While Hayek is playing Ajak in Eternals, the character has traditionally been portrayed as a man in the comics. When she first got the job, all she knew was the character's name, only to find out later Ajak was a man on the page.

"I knew the name of my character. But don't look for it in the comics. When I did look at the comics, I was a man," she said.

Hayek went on to talk about the cast of Eternals, which boasts one of the most diverse rosters of actors in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

"I think that there are people in power who have wanted this change for a long time," Hayek added. "But it takes a lot of elements for it to happen. For example, [Marvel vice president of film production] Victoria Alonso, I cannot love this woman more. She is extraordinary. She was very supportive to all the cast. And when you talk to her, you can see that this was something meaningful to her for a long time. Even [Marvel chief] Kevin Feige was very proud of it. But I was terrified. They tell you you're going to be in this movie, but they can't give you a script, and you have to sign the contract. You have to negotiate and sign the contract, and you cannot tell anyone."

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Eternals is set to hit theaters on November 5th.