Chloé Zhao is the first person to win an Academy Award for Best Director that’s taken charge of a Marvel Cinematic Universe blockbuster, which is reason enough to get excited. The 39-year-old also produced Best Picture winner Nomadland, gaining her a second gold statue for good measure.
On the surface, her two most recent films couldn’t be more different. Nomadland cost just $5 million to make and featured many semi-professional and untrained actors, with the plot following Frances McDormand’s Fern embarking on a journey of self-discovery through the American West after she loses everything in the recession and packs all of her earthly belongings into a van before hitting the road.
Eternals is estimated to have a budget of $200 million, and tells a story spanning millennia that focuses on a race of all-powerful cosmic beings who settled on our planet, where they’ve operated on the fringes of human history as a battle against their arch-enemies the Deviants carries on with humanity remaining blissfully unaware.
Direct comparisons are hardly easy to come by, but in a new interview, Marvel Studios VP of Production and Development Nate Moore revealed that the pair of disparate projects have much more in common than you’d think.
“Chloé’s interested in telling stories about outsiders who find themselves adrift in new worlds. Nomadland and Eternals both share that DNA. Nomadland doesn’t have the same bells and whistles as Eternals, but it has the same thematic resonance.”
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The full-length trailer for Eternals promised an MCU movie unlike anything we’ve ever seen before, even if it features plenty of the requisite CGI spectacle and grandstanding action sequences we’ve come to expect from the franchise. Kevin Feige said he wouldn’t have even tried to make it without Zhao, which is high praise coming from one of the most powerful figures in Hollywood.