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Eternals' Salma Hayek Never Thought She'd Get Cast In A Marvel Movie


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Eternals star Salma Hayek never thought she would be considered for a Marvel movie. Hayek is set to star in Eternals from Academy Award-winning director Chloé Zhao. Hayek will play Ajak, the leader of the superhero team, and while Hayek is one of the most popular and recognizable stars in the world, this is her first foray into the superhero genre.

2021 is shaping up to be a big year for Hayek. She will be first seen in Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard alongside Ryan Reynolds and Samuel Jackson this summer after the film was delayed from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She will also be seen in Ridley Scott's House of Gucci alongside Adam Driver and Lady Gaga. She recently signed on to develop a series about talking breasts for HBO Max. And, of course, she will also appear in Eternals, a highly anticipated piece of Marvel Studios Phase 4 plans.

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Hayek, however, didn't expect to get a role in a Marvel movie, she said during an interview with Variety. She explained that, as a Mexican woman in her 50s, she thought superhero roles were no longer in the cards for her. But when Hayek was cast, she was so excited to tell people that she had a hard time keeping it a secret. She said:

"It never crossed my mind to be in a Marvel movie. I guess that I thought that boat had sailed, and it was an absolute shock. All of a sudden, I got a call: “They want to talk to you about a new franchise.” And I was like, “What?” And I said OK, but they don’t tell you any information until you’re on the call. It’s kind of hard to be an action hero if you’re Mexican. It’s really hard to be an action hero if you’re a Mexican and a woman. But to be an action hero, being Mexican, a woman, and my age, it felt like they were punking me. And then the worst part is that I was one of the first people they cast. I had to keep my mouth shut for so many months. I couldn’t tell a soul. And I couldn’t wait for the day that I could say it."

News of Hayek's casting for Eternals surfaced around June 2019, meaning she may have met with Marvel much longer before then. Fans already knew that Angelina Jolie and Kumail Nanjiani had joined the cast and were given an insight into the type of diverse, talented cast Marvel was looking at for Eternals. In the comics, Ajak is a man, but Marvel Studios gender-flipped the character to able to cast a talented actress like Hayek.

While Hayek is no stranger to action films like Desperado, Wild Wild West, and From Dusk till Dawn, she transitioned her career into a variety of roles including the Oscar-nominated Frida. Hayek may have found herself in a position that a lot of women in Hollywood do, where they appear to be too old for certain parts while their male counterparts can get the same roles into their 50s. Rene Russo was famously let go from Batman Forever after Michael Keaton was replaced with Val Kilmer as they thought she was too old for her co-star. Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, and Paul Rudd are all in their 50s and playing major Marvel heroes. Hayek's casting, along with more in Eternals, is a good sign that Marvel is looking to cast extremely talented actors in leading superhero parts regardless of age.

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