Salma Hayek Shares Why She Almost Didn’t Join Eternals

Salma Hayek will make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the upcoming film Eternals, but she almost passed on the film.

The Frida actor opened up about joining the upcoming MCU film in an Entertainment Weekly interview. Hayek, 54, told the outlet that she initially did not want to meet with Marvel about the film, because of concerns that they wanted her for a certain type of role.

“I said, ‘Forget it,'” she told the outlet. “I said, ‘God knows what kind of grandmother they want me to play.’ I’m used to being [told] I’m going to be the extra or the old prostitute. And then they said the director was Chloé Zhao, and I said, ‘Okay! Let’s have the meeting!'”

Hayek soon learned that the Academy Award-winning director had personally selected her to play Ajax, one of the most important Eternals. The character, a spiritual leader with super-strength and the ability to heal, was originally a man in the comics. Instead, the father of all Eternals will become the mother of all Eternals for the film.

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Upon the release of the film’s final trailer, Hayek took to Instagram to express her excitement about the film. “I felt butterflies in my stomach just getting a glimpse of Chloé Zhao’s elegant work. I’m immensely grateful to be a part of it. In case you are wondering, it’s me on the horse,” she wrote.

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The Eternals heroes are more diverse than the comic book characters, with the lineup including the MCU’s first deaf and first openly gay superheroes. Zhao told EW that the diversity of the cast was one of the reasons she became interested in directing the film. She said, “That really impressed me, how diverse the cast was [in early drafts]. Not just in terms of gender, race, age, but overall, I could see the desire to reflect the world that we live in, as much as possible.”

She continued, “That is great, but what was most important to me was actually to be able to tell a story and to craft characters to be as individual as possible, and to really showcase what’s underneath the surface of what they look like and what they represent. These are unique, flawed, and complicated individuals, just like you and I. That’s what drew me to these actors. That’s what drew me to the story of each of the characters.”

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