With the paw of its director Chloé Zhao, The Eternals is a Marvel film apart which relies on natural settings and few green backgrounds. How and where was this twenty-sixth MCU feature film shot?
Favoring natural settings to tell the epic of the Eternals for millennia, Chloé Zhao wanted the filming of the Marvel film to take place as much as possible in existing sites in order to bring authenticity to this large-scale but deeply human story. This twenty-sixth MCU film is unlike any other and will mark a turning point in this cinematic universe.
Where was The Eternals filmed?
The Eternals accumulated several different filming environments in London, in iconic locations and less beautiful neighborhoods, such as the Natural History Museum, Piccadilly Circus, Belsize Park, Camden Lock and Hampstead Heath, but also in the British countryside.
A private house in Surrey represents the home of Phastos (Brian Tyree Henry) in Chicago. Black Park, a 200-hectare park of forests and moors backing onto the Pinewood Studios, was chosen to build the impressive Aztec Pyramid.
The site where Druig’s (Barry Keoghan) camp was built is a wooded area within Wormsley, a private estate in Buckinghamshire. Ajak’s (Salma Hayek) ranch was built on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, an open landscape to the horizon with no trace of modern life.
Four weeks of filming took place in Fuerteventura and Lanzarote, two of the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago off the coast of Africa. These incredible locations allowed the production to show different periods of history on screen, using parts of the islands as historical liners for places that no longer exist today or in which it is difficult to film.
A naturalistic aesthetic and few green backgrounds
By calling on Chloe Zhao, who won the Oscar after filming the superheroic film for Nomadland, Marvel Studios wanted the director to bring her naturalistic touch to a superheroic epic mixing great spectacle and intimate humanity. The filmmaker therefore favored natural settings, a refined staging and very few green backgrounds.
Chloé Zhao told DashFUN that she had a rather special approach: “We joked about having a National Geographic approach. We figured that if National Geographic decided to make a documentary about these ten ancient aliens that exist, they wouldn’t use huge cranes and they wouldn’t do it. ‘slow motion effect with the camera but would instead try to capture the reality. But this reality of the Eternals does not exist in real life. So we had to create this fantastic reality and let the camera capture it. “
A shoot full of challenges
Filming in real settings comes with many challenges and many unforeseen events. Richard Madden (Ikaris) told DashFUN that he had some scares when he was “Hanging from the edge of a cliff and tied with a few ropes to a crane, all facing a 140 km / h wind, and being tossed around. It can be pretty scary.”
For her part, Salma Hayek revealed to us that the elements were sometimes against them but that she loved the experience:
“We had a sandstorm at one of the locations and we filmed right in it. You probably won’t see it, they must have removed it in post-production, but our eyes were hit by the sand. We had many frosty nights in the woods. Also whole nights of filming one after the other in the mud, in the rain or in the cold. And I loved it! “
The filming locations therefore represented a real challenge for the actors, who sometimes came close to disaster. Indeed, the shooting had to be stopped for a while in November 2019 on the island of Fuerteventura when the teams discovered old explosives on the beach they occupied. Richard Madden and Angelina Jolie (Thena) were present at the time and the two actors had to be evacuated.