Exclusive: Angelina Jolie & Salma Hayek talk about their reasons for joining the cast of Eternals and being a part of the Marvel family.
Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek talk about their reasons for joining the cast of Marvel’s Eternals. Angelina Jolie plays Thena, while Hayek plays Ajak, two members of the original Eternals, created by The Celestials to protect and guide humanity on Earth. Created by Jack Kirby in 1976, the Eternals have been a part of the Marvel universe ever since and are now making their first-ever live-action debut on the big screen.
Jolie has been a mainstay in Hollywood for decades, starring in such hits as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Girl, Interrupted, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Wanted, and Maleficent, amongst others. Hayek arrived on the scene with Robert Rodriguez’s Desperado and From Dusk Till Dawn, moving on to projects like Traffic, Frida, and Savages. Both actresses have become household names, creating a varied resumé of projects in their names from all manner of genres, be it action, drama, comedy, sci-fi, etc. Now, the actresses are making their way into the superhero genre for the first time.
Talking to Screen Rant for the Eternals junket, both Jolie and Hayek talked about how they came to join the Eternals family. Jolie has tackled larger-than-life characters before, especially in the videogame adaptation of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and she said it was “good to fight again” for Eternals. The actress went on to say that she’d been approached for superhero roles in the past, but it wasn’t until Thena was offered that she really considered it, saying that the part made her want to be a part of a broader picture.
“And Thena… It was really this family I wanted to be a part of. When I understood what this film was going to be and who this group was, what this group would represent and how inclusive and diverse [it was], I felt that’s what it always should have been. It’s what I wanted to be, and to figure out my part in it was secondary; figuring out who I’d be. But I just wanted to be with this family. And I trust this director.”
For Hayek, who had never been offered a superhero role before, Eternals and her character of Ajak felt like “the right one” and “at the right time.” Hayek went on to praise director Chloé Zhao and highlighted the “eclectic” family that she created with the film, saying, “I love the director. I think it’s very meaningful that it’s at this time, that I can be in my 50s and be a superhero, and be Mexican-Arab and be a superhero, and be part of this eclectic family.” When Hayek joined the film it was only Jolie who had signed on at the time, which made the actress excited. “Because my greatest expectations about Angie, about the director, about our little family that we created, about the movie itself – it’s one of those rare occasions where you keep being surprised in a good way, and it keeps growing.”
“For example, we couldn’t come out when we wanted to, because the world practically fell apart with a virus. Everything has been eventful about this movie, though. There is not nothing that is just normal. It’s just all kind of amazing.”
Hayek recently starred in The Hitman’s Bodyguard’s Wife with Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson and has a role in Ridley Scott’s upcoming biopic, House of Gucci. Jolie’s last acting work was in Taylor Sheridan’s Those Who Wish Me Dead, which debuted in theaters and on HBO Max this past May. Jolie has also made a name for herself as a director, having made a number of films, including 2014’s Unbroken and the 2017 biographical drama First They Killed My Father for Netflix.
Both Jolie and Hayek have proven themselves in every other genre they’ve worked in and it will surely be the same as Marvel superheroes. They bring strong experience and familiarity to Eternals, giving it an esteem not usually afforded right away when the stars are unproven. For Jolie and Hayek, it’s a matter of bringing their experience and expertise to the MCU, rather than attempting to prove their strengths to be in it, which is refreshing. The MCU has brought in revered actors for many of their projects in the past, from Robert Redford to Michael Douglas to Michelle Pfeiffer to Tony Leung and beyond, making their universe a place for new and established talents to thrive. No doubt, Jolie and Hayek will do just that with Eternals.