Cover Actress Angelina Jolie attends photocall of the film Eternals at the Hotel de la Ville. Rome (Photo: Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)

Angelia Jolie opens a new chapter in her career as she joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She talks about her character in Eternals and the chemistry on set

Angelina Jolie—who’s never heard of her? The actress and filmmaker has a career that spans almost four decades working on a range of genres, having numerous accolades under her belt, being one of Hollywood’s high-paid actresses and one of the most influential people in the entertainment industry. It’s easy to be awed by Jolie’s career and achievements.

In addition to award-winning performances, action-star roles and voicing characters in animation films—Jolie is welcoming a new chapter in her career as she officially joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Thena in Chloé Zhao’s Eternals.

Ahead of its launch in Hong Kong, Jolie shares with Tatler about her character Thena, why Chloé Zhao is the perfect choice to helm the movie and her bond with her co-stars on set.

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Can you tell us more about who the Eternals are?

The Eternals have been around a long time. The story is about them coming to Earth and their relationship with humans from the beginning. They are there as humanity evolves, so they change as humans change. But they are immortal aliens who form a team to protect humanity.

What’s the ability of your character, Thena?

Thena’s a fighter. She’s like the goddess of war. She can manifest many different weapons in her hands.

What was your impression of the costume and when all the cast members came together on set?

It was an interesting day because when you’re alone and you’re putting on that kind of an outfit and you’re standing there in your trailer and you’re looking at yourself, you’re thinking “what am I doing? I’m in a superhero outfit.” But what happened when we did all come together was that we were quite moved. Then, of course, we all laughed about who was going to be who for Halloween, and how we were all going to switch outfits.

How was the bond and chemistry with your co-stars on set?

It’s interesting, and I don’t know if this is the genius of how Chloé [Zhao] cast us, but it felt like we’d known each other before. I don’t know what it was, but we were friends very quickly. The person I had to be closest to was Don [Lee]. We naturally found each other immediately, and we were kind of inseparable.

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What makes Thena different from the other Eternals?

Thena’s not comfortable in peacetime. She doesn’t know how to exist as a civilian or as a lover or as a friend, but she does know war. She knows who she is in combat. But she doesn’t know how to go to a party or socialise. She just doesn’t have those skills.

Why was Chloé Zhao a great choice to lead this film?

Chloé is an extraordinary choice. I knew she’d bring something different, but I really didn’t know how since this is a huge movie. It is huge in scope and span of time. It’s huge in the effects and new-world creation. It’s huge in that you have ten different brand-new characters that you’re introducing and creating, and everything about them and their personalities, their backgrounds, their histories and their type of fighting.

When I saw the film, I didn’t know how she did it. I didn’t know how she was able to balance so much. What I wasn’t surprised by is how authentic it was. This epic film feels very personal and very emotional and very human. I believe that’s her gift.

Can you tell us more about Thena’s relationship with Gilgamesh?

They are like comrades in arms, who have known each other and fought alongside each other. They are partners, and they fight together. There are a lot of strong female characters in film now. But to have a strong woman with a strong man who she can lean on, like in this film, is the kind of partnership and relationship that I’d like to see more of.

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What are some of the issues that your character has to deal with?

Thena is like a soldier who is affected by the memories of battle and has PTSD or moral injury to live with. Thena just assumes that a fight’s coming at her rather than care and kindness. So she’s quite wired, and a lot of her struggle is just holding on to her mind and her centre and her peace. I understand her, and how she feels.

What’s your favourite moment or scene from the movie?

For me, when I watched it, I was so excited to see everybody else’s great scene. Because I know these actors. I know their characters. I saw the family being built. It is so rare that you see a film where there is this equality of contribution and expression within the work. I was in awe of everybody else in the film. 

Marvel movies are known for their action. But in Eternals, we see a lot more personal moments. How do you find the balance?

While [Marvel] work hard to make these big movies, and they take the fans seriously to give them the right drama and character and arc, they’re also having fun. We’re trying to do something that’s fun and makes you smile. So in every scene, when there has to be a lot of exposition or challenges or drama, they look for a way to also give a little twinkle. And the actors are encouraged to play and look for those things as they are acting. 

What are you most excited for viewers to see?

I hope that a lot of people are going to see themselves as superheroes who may not have seen themselves as superheroes before. I’m excited about that. 

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Eternals premiers on November 3, 2021 in Hong Kong



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