The MCU has been making some significant strides in the matter of diversity and representation when it comes to its roster of superheroes. The upcoming MCU film Eternals is going to go even further in this department, featuring a group of superbeings of different ethnicities and backgrounds, played by Angelina Jolie, Gemma Chan, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Harish Patel, Barry Keoghan, Mia Dong-seok, Richard Madden and Kit Harington. Salma Hayek will play the role of the superhero Ajak in the movie. In an interview with Variety, Hayek expressed her enthusiasm for the diversity on display in Eternals.
"I think a lot of people are going to feel seen and that's important and that's what matters. It's not diverse for the sake of being diverse. It's the way [director Chloé Zhao] chose every single one of us that really creates a family for the purpose of the Eternals. For the purpose of the film. It doesn't feel forced."
Based on the Marvel Comics series of the same name, Eternals tells the story of a group of ancient, superpowered beings named Eternals that were bred on Earth thousands of years ago. Since then, the Eternals have lived in secret on the planet and watched over humanity. Now, a long-lived war between the Eternals and their evil counterparts the Deviants threatens to spill out into the public sphere and put everyone in danger.
Ajak, the character played by Salma Hayek, is described as the leader of the Eternals, with the ability to heal others, and communicate with the Celestials, which are the near-omnipotent beings that birthed the Eternals in the first place. Like any Marvel hero, Hayek got to wear her own superhero outfit as Ajak. According to the actress, she had some initial concerns about the outfit because of how tight it was. But all her concerns melted away once Hayek saw herself decked out as a proper superhero.
"I am claustrophobic. I was terrified of the costume. I was terrified. Because if I cannot move and it's kind of thick... I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm not going to be able to breathe. It's going to drive me crazy. And I went to put it on, I found myself profoundly moved. It was a very strange experience because I didn't expect it. I forgot about how does it fit? Am I going to get a claustrophobic attack? All I could see was, 'Oh my God, here's a Mexican female in this outfit and this is really happening. And yes, we get to be superheroes.'"
Directed by Chloé Zhao from a screenplay by Matthew and Ryan Firpo, Eternals features an ensemble lead cast consisting of Gemma Chan as Sersi, Richard Madden as Ikaris, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Barry Keoghan as Druig and Kit Harington as Dane Whitman/Black Knight. The film arrives in theaters on November 5. This news originated at Variety.