Deaf representation in Hollywood is growing substantially over the last few years and later this year we’re set to get our first deaf Superhero within the Marvel Cinematic Universe when Tony-award nominee Lauren Ridloff debuts as Eternals member Makkari.
During a recent interview with The New York Times, Ridloff spoke of her time on set filming the upcoming entry into the MCU and shared one handy trick that was used to help out with the filming process.
Being a deaf actress filming as part of the ensemble, Ridloff faced her own challenges filming among the Eternals cast which includes stars Richard Madden, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Barry Keoghan, and Kit Harrington. It was co-star Angelina Jolie who came up with a simple way to help cue Ridloff during takes.
“In some scenes, I had to face a wall. As a deaf person, how do you cue me? At one point, I was sharing my frustration with Angie — Angelina Jolie — at a holiday party after a day of shooting. And she immediately made a suggestion — why don’t we use a laser pen that special effects can easily erase? It was an ‘Aha, wow’ moment. Whenever I’m looking at a wall, the interpreters would use a laser pen to make a circle on the wall — ‘rolling, rolling, rolling’ — and once it went away that meant, ‘Action!’”
In the last few years, deaf representation has seen a pleasant spike within Hollywood thanks to major hits like A Quiet Place or Amazon’s Sound of Metal, which explicitly crafted the film around sound.
Ridloff may be taking this initiative to the most high-profile project yet thanks to Marvel, and the actress believes that it’s helping to allow more audiences to see themselves in these characters.
“It makes so much sense to have this diversity and representation within the MCU because what the MCU is offering the world is amazing. They’re offering a way for us to hope, to be able to get up and keep going and fight for what’s important. More and more people are starting to see themselves in that universe, and that’s powerful.”
You can catch Eternals in theatres when it launches on Friday, November 5th.