Nomadland and Eternals director Chloé Zhao explains how her MCU film will set itself apart from other Marvel movies with its longer takes.
Director Chloé Zhao explains why Eternals features longer takes than other MCU movies. Now that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has had its due time in the spotlight, all eyes are on the next film on Marvel’s Phase 4 slate, Eternals. Zhao finished principal photography on the MCU film over a year ago and, since then, took home Best Director and Best Picture for her most recent film, Nomadland, at this past Academy Awards, which only heightened anticipation for her entry into the MCU.
Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Eternals follows an immortal team of superheroes who must emerge from hiding after thousands of years and band together to protect humanity from their evil counterparts, the Deviants. For the first time since 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel will be introducing a brand new team of heroes to their ever-expanding cinematic universe. A-listers like Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek headline the cast, joined by recognizable faces like Richard Madden, Kumail Nanjiani, Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, and Barry Keoghan.
In an interview with Fandango, director Chloé Zhao discusses how Eternals will change audiences’ views of the MCU. Its diverse ensemble cast, Oscar-winning director, and ambitious plot spans thousands of years marks many firsts for Marvel movies. Still, Zhao recently opened up about how the film will set itself apart with its long takes. Read what the Eternals director had to say below:
The cameras are very grounded, and the movements are very natural. Shots are longer — we use wide angle lenses, and deep focus… it’s about giving the audience the space and the time to be able to explore what’s within the frame, and therefore come to their own conclusion of the relationship between the characters and the space they’re in… We definitely linger with the camera, both in action sequences and if it’s someone walking through a village or in space with the Celestials. We always try to see how long we can hold before we have to cut. When you have unlimited tools, it was very important to set limitations. So for us, we set the language up and then we follow it strictly. And part of that for us is to try to linger in every type of scene as much as possible for a film like this.
Zhao is known for her immersive style of filmmaking, which she exhibited not only in her profoundly moving drama Nomadland but her lesser-known features like Songs My Brothers Taught Me and The Rider. This is largely thanks to her long takes, which allow audiences to feel like they’re living with the characters in their world. Because Eternals introduces a slew of new characters and spans multiple millennia, this became even more important for Zhao’s MCU film.
It was already known that Zhao opted to forgo green screens and shoot on-location as much as possible, but it’s nice to know she was able to bring other elements of her aesthetic like her immersive long takes. Eternals might not have any shots that last as long as the ones in Nomadland (such as the long tracking shot of Fern (Frances McDormand) walking throughout the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous) but based on her comments, Zhao seemed determined to let some of the film’s shots breath. All of Eternals‘ glorious long takes can be seen when the film releases in theaters on November 5.
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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