London-born actress Gemma Chan thought her days in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were over and done with after her character Minn-Erva bit the dust in 2019’s Captain Marvel.
“My character dies in [Captain Marvel], so I thought there was no chance that I would really be coming back, which I was a bit bummed about,” Gemma said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“But then I encountered [Marvel Studios’ Chief Creative Officer] Kevin Feige during the awards circuit for Crazy Rich Asians and out of the blue, he just came up and said, ‘We’d love to have you back. We’d love to make better use of you. We want you to do something else, so let’s find that project.’ But, to be honest, I had no idea that it would be so soon.”
The project turned out to be Eternals, about a race of immortal aliens living on Earth and shaping its history and civilisation. The cast also stars Angelina Jolie, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Ridoff, and Don Lee.
Gemma’s role is Sersi, a sorceress with the power to transform any object or person. She also has super-strength and ability to fly. Gemma had to audition opposite Madden.
In the interview, Gemma said Eternals is very different from Captain Marvel. “It’s a really epic story. Very ambitious. There are lots of new characters. I feel like it’s going to be a superhero movie that is not like a superhero movie. That sounds like a very obvious thing to say, but they’re trying to do something different with this film. So we’re all crossing our fingers that it works and that people respond to it.”
She added, “We shot a lot on location, using a lot of natural light. Yeah, again, it felt very different. We did some stuff in studio, but a lot of stuff on location. There wasn’t that much bluescreen stuff, which I did quite a lot of on Captain Marvel.”
The actress isn’t the only actor to have played multiple characters in the MCU. Other double-role club members include Alfre Woodward (Luke Cage, Captain America: Civil War), Mahershala Ali (Luke Cage, Blade), and Kenneth Choi (Captain America: The First Avenger, Spider-Man: Homecoming).
Eternals is directed by Chloe Zhao who has been attracting Oscar buzz for the Frances McDormand-starring drama Nomadland — originally slated to come out in November 2020, but was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic to November 2021. The movie opens in Singapore on Oct 28.
Gemma’s latest project, Steven Soderbergh’s Let Them All Talk, just premiered on HBO Max. No word on when it will drop on HBO Go.