Oscar-winning filmmaker Chloe Zhao says Kingo in Eternals is a character who “loves pop culture and showmanship”, which is why making him a Bollywood star for his “beautiful, joyous dance sequence” in the big Marvel film Felt “incredible”.
The Nomadland director said Kingo, played by Pakistani-American star Kumail Nanjiani, was always considered a Bollywood hero.
“When I got into the process, there was a treat and in the cure, there are always stories and parts that happen in Mumbai. Kingo is a Bollywood star in the present day and I thought it was very interesting because we knew Kingo Hai is going to be a character who embraces the side of humanity who loves pop culture, who loves storytelling, that show off,” Zhao told PTI during a roundtable interview with international reporters on Zoom. Responding to a question, he said.
On bringing together different cultural elements in a superhero film, the Chinese-American director said that Kingo’s character arc is a breath of fresh air.
“It was interesting to see the writers and the Marvel team make her not only a Hollywood star as we’ve seen her so many times, but to actually make her a Bollywood star and this beautiful, enjoyable dance sequence. I thought a big Marvel It’s incredible to be included in the film.”
Eternal introduces viewers to 10 never-before-seen superheroes played by some of Hollywood’s biggest names like Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Game of Thrones stars Richard Madden and Kit Harington, Gemma Chan, Nanjiani and Don Lee .
Nanjiani recently revealed that he initially expressed his inability to dance, but Zhao betrayed him by promising to turn the segment into an action sequence only to keep the dance sequence intact.
The Eternals are an alien race living on Earth for more than 7,000 years who team up to save humanity from their evil counterparts, the goddesses.
A feature peculiar to Hollywood for its distinctive and independent films dealing with human stories, Zhao said that she has always wanted to direct a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is known for its blockbuster superhero movies.
“I wanted it so bad because I wanted to work with the team at Marvel because I love movies… Also with this particular story, I felt like I had something to offer. And this one story that would address the questions I had for myself as a human being. So, I knew creating it would allow me to grow,” the 39-year-old filmmaker explained.
Zhao, whose first film was Song My Brother Taught Me, which was followed by the critically acclaimed The Rider, gained global attention with Nomadland, a film that centers on a woman who leaves home and her husband. She decides to become a nomad after she dies and loses her job.
At the Academy Awards ceremony earlier this year, Nomadland won trophies for Best Picture, Best Actor for Frances McDormand and Best Director for Zhao, becoming the only second woman and the first East Asian to win an Oscar trophy in this category.
When asked about Zhao’s interest in related subjects and the idea of home in his stories, the director said that these concepts have been on his mind lately.
“I’m thinking of us as a species, like humanity, we’re thinking about literally leaving the planet and going somewhere else. As a species, we’re always trying to leave home and find something else. Have been – meaning, land, gold, opportunity – whatever.
“And then finally, when we get older we always want to go home… As I’m getting older, I think a lot about these topics, you know, belonging and home,” he said.
But is there any concern that such themes might get lost in translation in a superhero film? Zhao said this is a concern she constantly struggles with as a filmmaker.
“Whatever film I make, I worry it will get lost in translation and you never know. That’s it, I try not to go there,” she told PTI.
“When a film is done at the moment, this film (Eternal) is more yours than mine. So I have no control over it and the chemistry of where we are in the world,” she said, citing the example. The nomadic land, which struck a chord with the people during the pandemic.
“I didn’t know how that film would relate to people when I made it. So I would say it’s part of the job.” When asked about plans for a possible sequel, Zhao said that he and the team at Marvel were “encouraged to actually make a stand-alone and really make a film outside of the main story”.
Eternals has “consequences for the future”, but the director said he will have to see how the film interacts with the world and grows.
“We will make future plans after looking at it,” she said.
As a fan of superhero and cast films in the past, Zhao said she was inspired by too many films to tell the story of these completely new characters.
“It’s great to see these people who don’t agree with each other or come from different walks of life, and find commonality, something worth fighting for together. That’s something I think as human beings, we love watching because we hope we can all have a common ground and find things that are worth fighting for…”
Eternal is set to release in Indian cinemas on November 5 in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.