How Dune Impacted Marvel & Chloe Zhao’s Eternals

Right now, Marvel’s Eternals has found itself in a very peculiar place as the movie is not just the follow-up to Chloé Zhao’s Oscar-winning film Nomadland but it also introduces many new narratives into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Until now, the film has received mixed reviews by critics and is notably the first “Rotten” film from Marvel Studios to be released to date. The film also comes in barely a few weeks after the critically acclaimed Dune, directed by Denis Villeneuve, which is the latest and the first part in the multi-part adaptation of the Frank Herbert novel. With the two films now set to appear against each other in the theatres, Zhao credits Villeneuve’s work with IMAX on the sci-fi adaptation with being a major boon to her own success on Eternals.

Eternals Director Chloe Zhao On Dune:

Dune
Dune

“I gotta say that I’m a big fan of Denis; he’s a friend,” Zhao revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. “We got pushed and shifted because of the pandemic. We got pulled apart and now we’re back together again at the same time. Even when I was working on IMAX for Eternals, I asked him if it was okay for me to watch Dune. I knew he did incredible things in IMAX, so I knew I could learn from him. He was so generous; he was like, ‘Yes.’ He also gave me other references to look at. So I actually find a lot of strength in our films coming out at the same time and to have a colleague who I respect and love and to be able to go through this together and to hug each other at Venice [International Film Festival] when Dune came out. He even sent me a message last night, so it all feels very empowering.”

Apart from optimizing the film for the IMAX audiences, Zhao also shot the film much like her other features, using natural lighting in some scenes shot on the location and not in the studio itself. She also went on to open about this very aspect, noting how this aesthetic has become a trademark of her filming and was something that they used on Eternals to make its thousand-year-old spanning story believable.

Eternals To Release Today

Sersi and Ikaris in Eternals
Sersi and Ikaris in Eternals

“We knew that this film had to be immersive, and we knew that there had to be a level of realism to everything, from action to the Eternals in historic periods,” she added. “So we, as the audience, have to actually believe that these immortal aliens have walked the planet for several thousand years. I want the audience to discover these characters and their relationship with this planet….So shooting natural light in this situation added to that realism, and we were able to just go into a world and not worry too much about setting up a lot of lights. Our actors could actually interact with this environment, so you can believe them in their outfits and that they actually could have existed in ancient Babylon.”

Eternals is in theatres now.

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